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Vol. I. The Glory of God is Intelligence. NO. I. 

- , — No/. 

ERA. ^co„ 

Organ of Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations. 


November, 1897. 


The Past of Mutual Improvement, I Edward JET. Anderson, i 

Religious Faiths — I. The Doctrines and 

Claims of the Roman Catholic Church, Rt. Rev. Lawrence Scanlan, n 

Statehood and How it was Achieved, . . . Hon. Wm. H. King, 26 

Is it Worth While? A Poem, Reginal B. Span, 33 

Ancient Tales — Hell's Bridge . . 34 

Bible Studies, I Nephi L. Morris, 38 

Questions for the Editors — The Lord's 

Day 43 

November Thoughts; a Poem Anon, 53 

Gleanings, , . 54 


Editor's Table — The Improvement Era; 
Keynote of Mutual Improvement; 
The Agents of the Era; A Word to 
Our Friends 55 

Our Work — The Late General Con- 
ference; Changes in Stake Superin- 
tendences; the Improvement Fund; 
Errata 61 

Jos. F. Smith, ^ Trd'f Heber J. Grant, ) Business 

B. H. Roberts, f Thos. Hull, \ Managers. 


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Vol. I. NOVEMBER, 1897. No. 1. 




Mutual Improvement in its organized form, as it is known 
to us today, has not existed long in the church. Only a few 
years ago there were no organizations of this class. The Sun- 
day school dates back to that second Sunday in December, 
1849, when Richard Ballantyne opened his home in Salt Lake 
City to fifty children to whom it was his ambition to teach the 
principles of the gospel. But mutual improvement was not in- 
troduced among the young people for upwards of a quarter of 
a century later. 

In 1873 it became the rule in some of the more thickly pop- 
ulated settlements of the Saints for the young people to form 
associations for entertainments and improvement. These 
were called night schools, literary societies, debating clubs, 
young men's clubs, or any other name that indicated the ob- 
ject of the gathering. Frequently they were solely for amuse- 
ment, and, taking pattern after the early efforts in Salt Lake 
City, were formed to instruct the people by theatrical exhibi- 
tions and dramatic performances. 

In Weber county, about a dozen young men met, at 
the invitation of Apostle F. D. Richards, in his home, on the 
20th day of April, 1873, to consider the importance of organ- 


izing themselves into a society for mutual improvement. 
President George Q. Cannon was with them and it was de- 
termined to organize, which was accordingly done. Meetings 
were thereafter held weekly, simple rules being adopted to 
govern the same, and a small mutual assessment was levied 
on the members to cover the expenses. The numbers grew 
until in a short time the association was compelled to move in- 
to the City Hall to accommodate the membership. Sister Jane 
S. Richards shortly thereafter gathered a number of the young 
girls together. Sister Eliza R. Snow Smith came and organized 
and met with them, and was finally asked to permit the young 
men to meet with the young ladies, which was granted, and 
from that time on the meetings were held conjointly, Apostle 
Richards retaining the presiding charge. This association was 
not discontinued, but when the general movement was inaug- 
urated, it was divided into four — one in each ward in the city. 
Other associations of like character were early formed in the 
settlements of the county, and improvement associations and 
literary societies had also been organized in several wards of 
Salt Lake City, and in other places, previous to the general 
movement in 1875. 

About this time it became evident to President Brigham 
Young that there existed a necessity for a general organization 
of the young people into societies for their mutual improve- 
ment — associations that should be separate from the priest- 
hood, and yet so organized that they should be under its guid- 
ance, and for its strength. 

This idea seemed to have found maturity while the Presi- 
dent was contemplating the condition of the young people and 
the stakes of Zion generally, for the mutual improvement 
movement was contemporaneous with, if not previous to, that 
of the organization of the stakes of Zion, the crowning labor 
of President Young's last days. It was in the summer of 1875 
that he called Elder Junius F. Wells to begin this work of 
organizing societies for mutual improvement. To Brother 
Wells and his associates, the President, without outlining any 
definite course, said: 

"We want you to organize yourselves into associations 
for mutual improvement. Let the keynote of your work be 


the establishment in the youth of individual testimony of the 
truth and magnitude of the great latter-day work; the develop- 
ment of the gifts within them, that have been bestowed upon 
them hy the laying on of hands of the servants of God; culti- 
vating a knowledge and an application of the eternal princi- 
ples of the great science of life." 

Acting upon these instructions, and without more detailed 
delineation of the movement. Elder Wells called a public meet- 
ing in the Thirteenth Ward meeting house in Salt Lake City, 
on the ioth day of June, 1875, and organized the first Mutual 
Improvement Association in the Church, under the direction of 
the authorities. There were a goodly number of people in 
attendance, and after it had been explained what the object 
of the movement was, it was decided by the vote of those 
present to organize the society. The following officers were 
chosen: H. A. Woolley, president: B. Morris Young, Heber 
J. Grant, counselors; Hiram H. Goddard, secretary. The 
work of organizing was continued by Elder Wells in other 
wards of the city, and a tour was made to different parts of the 
territory, especially to Brigham City in the north, and to St. 
George in the south, where organizations were likewise effected. 
In the midst. of this work he was called to fill a mission to the 
Western States, upon which he departed Nov. 1st. Elder 
Milton H. Hardy had already assisted in the organization of 
several associations in Salt Lake City, and it was on the 6th 
of Nov., 1875, that Elders John Henry Smith, M. H. Hardy, 
and B. M. Young were appointed by the First Presidency of 
the Church to continue the work which had been begun by 
Elder Wells. In the letter of instruction received by them, 
they were charged, "to visit the various portions of the terri- 
tory as opportunity offers, confer with the bishops and local 
authorities, and act in unison with them, hold meetings, or- 
ganize institutions or associations, attend to the election of 
officers, and give such instructions as the spirit of the Lord 
may inspire and counsel from us may direct." 

The brethren completed the organization in Salt Lake 
City and in December, 1875, Elders Hardy and Young visited 
Cache county, beginning the tour of the territory as appointed. 
Then followed organizations in other counties, and in the 


spring of 1876, tours were made of Box Elder, Utah, Juab, 
and Sanpete, previous to the April conference. After con- 
ference, organizations were effected by the same brethren in 
Millard, Beaver, Iron, Kane, Washington, Sevier, and Rich 
counties, Utah, and in Oneida and Bear Lake counties in 
Idaho, returning by way of Brigham City and Farmington. 

From the organization of the first association to Decem- 
ber 8, 1876, about one hundred associations were formed 
with a membership approaching two thousand. This com- 
pleted the first general movement in the organization of the 
associations throughout the territory. To sum up the lead- 
ing points in the organization of the movement: The first 
idea of improvement meetings seems to have grown out of the 
inherent desire in the minds of the young of both sexes to im- 
prove their minds by study, and to enjoy each other's intel- 
lectual society. Associations were formed in various cities 
and settlements for this purpose. The Lord inspired Presi- 
dent Brigham Young to encourage these desires for knowledge 
in the youth by ordering societies for mutual improvement to 
be organized generally throughout the settlements of the 
Saints. This labor began in the Thirteenth Ward, Salt Lake 
City, June 10, 1875, and from that date and time spread to all 
the stakes of Zion. Thus we have the modest origin of a 
work which has at this date grown to such dimensions. 

Now let us briefly consider the organization. Up to 
April, 1876, there had been no thought of a general head to 
look after the interests of the associations. At the first general 
conference held in Salt Lake City on the 8th of said month, 
the brethren who had been selected to form the associations, 
personally represented them as far as established and as a 
step toward a central organization, Elder M. H. Hardy was 
at this conference sustained as territorial secretary. At first 
the societies were under local rule, that is, there was no united 
whole, each association being independent; but at a meeting 
held in the old Council House, Salt Lake City, December 8, 
1876, a central committee of the Young Men's Mutual Improve- 
ment Association was selected, composed of the following 
Elders: Junius F. Wells, president; Milton H. Hardy and 
Rodney C. Badger, counsellors; John Nicholson, R. W. 


Young, and George F. Gibbs, secretaries, and Mathoni W. 
Pratt, treasurer. "The object of the central committee was 
to form a board of reference for the combined associations 
throughout the church to act at the head of the entire organi- 
zation, conduct missionary labor among the young people, re- 
ceive reports and issue general instructions for the govern- 
ment of the associations." 

There were as yet no general stake organizations, but dur- 
ing that season the central committee conducted an extensive 
missionary labor among the young, resulting in the formation 
of about one hundred more associations in various parts and 
greatly encouraging those already in existence. During the 
summer of 1878 the government of the associations was fur- 
ther perfected by the calling of central committees in each coun- 
ty. Every stake in the church was visited by Elders Junius 
F. Wells and M. H. Hardy who effected these central organiza- 
tions which were similar to those already established in Utah 
county, where the idea appears to have originated. A super- 
intendent and counsellors, with a secretary and treasurer, were 
appointed for each stake. These stake central committees, 
as they were called, were charged with the general super- 
vision of all the associations in the stake — with organizing, 
visiting, and with receiving reports — and were to be the 
medium through which any instructions that the authorities of 
the church might wish to impart to the societies. The results 
of this system were soon felt for good in the whole church. 
At the regular semi-annual meeting held at the April confer- 
ence in 1879, representatives were present from eighteen out 
of twenty stake organizations and from the statistical reports 
submitted, it was shown that two hundred and thirty associ- 
ations were in existence, with a membership of more than 
nine thousand. 

The work had now grown to such proportions that the 
brethren of the central committee felt that they needed to 
further strengthen the general organization by calling to their 
aid an additional committee of influential, representative 
brethren from the quorum of the Twelve, who should stand 
at the head of the organizations, and who might be consulted 
singly or as a committee, on all questions of interest pertain- 


ing to it; and further, with a view to placing the organiza- 
tions upon a permanent footing that would be recognized by 
all, and that would insure the most satisfactory work being 
done among the youth. Accordingly, at the fourth semi- 
annual conference, held in Salt Lake City, Tuesday evening, 
April 6, 1880, on nomination of President John Taylor, Apos- 
tle Wilford Woodruff, with Apostles Joseph F. Smith and 
Moses Thatcher, as counselors, was sustained as general 
superintendent of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement 
Associations throughout the world. The following were 
chosen as assistants to the general superintendency: Junius 
F. Wells, Milton H. Hardy, Rodney C. Badger; Heber J. 
Grant, secretary; William S. Burton, treasurer. 

At this conference the following suggestions for the fur- 
ther organization of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement 
Associations, by the council of Twelve Apostles, then the 
presiding authority of the Church, were adopted: 

First. — This institution must not interfere with the priest- 
hood of any of its members; but each individual member 
must be subject to the quorum of which he may be a mem- 
ber, and to the regularly organized authorities of the stake 
with which he is associated. 

Second. — Every stake organization to be under the 
authority of the stake organization of the priesthood in that 
stake, and to have for its superintendent a high priest select- 
ed by the president of the stake and his counselors, sanc- 
tioned by the high council of the stake, and voted for and 
sustained by the stake conference and associations of the stake. 

Third. — This stake superintendent may call two or more 
persons to his assistance, who may or may not be high 
priests. They shall be known as assistants or counselors, 
and shall be approved by the president of the stake and his 
counselors, sanctioned by the high council of the stake, and 
sustained by the vote of the stake conference and associa- 
tions of the stake. 

Fourth. — The Twelve may appoint a general superinten- 
dent, from time to time, who may, when convenient, be one 
of their council, who shall have the general superintendence 
of the stake organizations. 


Fifth. — The general superintendent may direct the ac- 
tion of all stake superintendents, and preside over all the 
officers of the associations in all the stakes, and may have 
two of the Twelve, when convenient, as counselors; and they 
may call upon such assistants, secretaries and other help, as 
may be required. The whole to be under the general super- 
intendence of the Twelve, as the presidency. The editor of 
the Contributor and the paper to be subject to, and under 
the general direction of, the superintendent and council. All 
books used in the libraries, for the use of the association, to 
be inspected and approved by the general superintendent and 
his council, and all works containing skeptical, immoral or 
improper doctrines or principles, to be excluded therefrom. 

Sixth. — The general superintendent and council to make 
arrangement for the purchase of books for the libraries and 
other purposes on the best possible terms, and all profits 
arising therefrom, after paying the necessary expenses, to go 
for the use and benefit of the associations who may order 
such books. It must be understood that this organization is 
not formed as a separate or distinct church organization or 
body of priesthood, but for the purpose of mutual improve- 
ment of the members and all connected therewith. 

On the 8th of October, 1882, Elder N. W. Clayton was 
sustained as secretary; and at the conference held in Logan, 
April, 1885, Elder Joseph A. West was sustained as an assis- 
tant. October 6th, 1887, Elder R. G. Lambert was selected 
and sustained as secretary, and in 1888 Elder Evan Stephens 
was chosen music director. Elder Edward H. Anderson 
succeeded as secretary in October, 1888, and Elder George 
D. Pyper followed in October, 1890, and was succeeded in 
1896 by Elder Thomas Hull, the present incumbent. At the 
conference held in June, 1894, the following officers were sus- 
tained: Wilford Woodruff, general superintendent; Joseph 
F. Smith, Moses Thatcher, counselors; assistants, Junius F. 
Wells, M. H. Hardy, R. C. Badger, G. H. Brimhall; secre- 
tary, George D. Pyper; treasurer, William S. Burton; music 
director, Evan Stephens. The list of the general officers 
sustained at the annual conference in 1897, is as follows: 
Wilford Woodruff, general superintendent; Joseph F. Smith, 


Heber J. Grant, B. H. Roberts, counsellors; assistants, 
Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, J. G. Kimball, Junius 
F. Wells, Milton H. Hardy, Rodney C. Badger, George H. 
Brimhall, Edward H. Anderson, Douglas M. Todd, John E. 
Heppler, Edward H. Snow, Nephi L. Morris, Richard W. 
Young, Horace G. Whitney; secretary, Thomas Hull; treas- 
urer, William S. Burton; music director, Evan Stephens. 

An association was formed in Laie, Oahu, Sandwich Isl- 
ands, by Elder R. G. Lambert, May 7th, 1876; and societies 
for mutual improvement have been organized, from time to 
time, in the missionary fields in various nations of the earth. 

Now, as to the aims of the organization. We have al- 
ready seen that with President Young the leading purposes 
were that the young people might obtain testimonies of the 
gospel, develop the intellect, and cultivate a knowledge and 
application of the eternal principles of the great science of 

Elder Junius F. Wells quotes the remarks of President 
Young in some instructions given in regard to governing the 
associations and conducting the exercises, when the general 
organization was inaugurated: "We want you to meet to- 
gether and bear testimonies of the truth. Many think they 
haven't any testimony to bear, but get them to stand up, and 
they will find that the Lord will give them utterance to many 
truths they had not thought of before." 

In their instructions to Elders Smith, Hardy, and Young, 
in a letter dated November 6, 1875, referring to the Young 
Men's Associations, Presidents Brigham Young and Daniel 
H. Wells speak as follows: "It is our desire that these in- 
stitutions should flourish, that our young men may grow in 
the comprehension of, and faith in, the holy principles of the 
gospel of eternal salvation, and furthermore, have an oppor- 
tunity to, and be encouraged in, bearing testimony to, and 
speaking of, the truths of our holy religion. Let the con- 
sideration of these truths and principles be the ground work 
and leading idea of every such association; and on this foun- 
dation of faith in God's great latter-day work let their mem- 
bers build all true knowledge by which they may be useful in 
the establishment of his kingdom. Each member will find 


that happiness in this world mainly depends on the work he 
does, and the way in which he does it. It now becomes the 
duty of these institutions to aid the holy priesthood in in- 
structing the youth of Israel in all things commendable and 
worthy of the acceptance of Saints of the Most High God." 

President John Taylor, in 1879, at a meeting of the asso- 
ciation of the Fifteenth ward, Salt Lake City, referred to the 
improvement societies as constituting in part the helps spoken 
of by St. Paul in the holy scriptures. Further, at a confer- 
ence held January 3rd, 1880, in the Assembly hall, Salt Lake 
City, President Taylor, in offering words of encouragement 
to the officers and members, blessed them in the work they 
were doing; and, in speaking of the Mutual Improvement 
Associations, said: "I consider these associations very im- 
portant auxiliaries to the church in building up the kingdom 
of God on the earth." 

Only little more need be said on this subject. The pur- 
poses of the organization are made amply plain from these 
remarks of the authorities. The scope of this plan, outlined 
by them, is as wide as truth in all its ramifications. To 
obtain testimonies not only must a knowledge of theology, as 
taught in the gospel of Christ, be comprehended, but there 
must be an individual understanding and enjoyment of the 
spirit of God; to develop the intellect, there must exist a 
familiarity with the basic divisions of learning — theology, 
history, science, the arts and literature; and finally, "to culti- 
vate a knowledge and an application of the eternal princi- 
ples of the great science of life," involves work for time and 
eternity. It covers the investigation of all true learning, and 
the application of the same to our earthly and to our ever- 
lasting lives. In fact, all efforts extended in any direction 
conceivable or yet unfathomed are but subdivisions and parts 
of the eternal principles of the great science of life. All 
things that may be said or done are but methods by which we 
may accomplish the great work before us. It is self-evident 
that young men who even though only imperfectly and par- 
tially cover the plan, become helps of great value to the 
priesthood; and, likewise, it is clear that organizations of in- 
telligent beings, with such aims, and seeking development in 


this manner, become powerful auxiliaries to the Church of 
Christ. The officers of our grand organization must awake to 
the importance and magnitude of the purposes of this mighty 
work. The keynote with them must be sacrificing devotion, 
implying a laying aside of self for the benefit of the cause. 
It means, further, that every officer must be an example, a 
teacher and a leader, among the youth — not in appearance, 
not in seeming, but in reality — all of which means earnest, 
prayerful work, sacrifice of self, and diligent application to 
duty. With all our growth, and viewing it comparatively, it 
has been rapid and great, we have scarcely begun to glean 
upon the edges of the mighty field of accomplishment ripe 
before us. 

(To be concluded in the ERA for December) . 





[The series of articles under the general title, Religious Faiths, 
promised in the Prospectus of the Era, very properly begins with an article 
on The Doctrine and Claims of the Roman Catholic Church, by Bishop 
Scanlan, of Salt Lake City. As stated in our Prospectus, it is the intention 
of the Editors of the Era to make this series of articles "a review of exist- 
ing religions and religious sects in the world, " giving an .opportunity for 
"comparison and contrast of the same," and finally "the trial of all by the 
standard of revealed truth." We begin, of course, with the Christian re- 
ligion, as represented by the leading churches of Christendom. We have 
extended an invitation to prominent ministers of the churches represented 
in our State to contribute statements of their doctrine and claims to the 
Era, in order that each of the prominent churches, at least, might present 
its doctrine from its own standpoint, and by its own representatives. To 
this invitation there have been already several favorable responses by pro- 
minent ministers, and the series, we are of opinion, will be of incalculable 
value and intense interest to our readers. — The Editor.] 

I have been kindly invited by the management of the 
Era to lay before its readers a statement of the doctrine and 
organization, with the reasons or authority therefor, of the 
Catholic Church. As these subjects are of a broad and com- 
prehensive character, only a brief outline of them can be 
expected within the space allowed me by this little magazine. 
However, I will try to trace, with some degree of fullness, a 
few of the principal and most important doctrinal and organic 
features of the church and will begin, by way of introduction, 
with some necessary observations on religion in general. 



I will take as granted by the readers of the Era — those 
for whom it is intended — certain primary truths or principles 
without which religion evidently could have no real basis, 
meaning or purpose: 

i. That there exists a personal God who is, therefore, 
capable of accepting religious homage and of being honored 
and pleased by it; that he has freely created all things visible 
and invisible outside himself; that, in consequence of the fact 
of creation, there must exist between him and us, his rational 
creatures, certain necessary relations, such as his complete 
independence, his sovereign and absolute dominion over us 
and his indisputable right to our submission, honor and love; 
in fact, to all that we have and are; that these relations con- 
stitute and represent God's rights over man; and that re- 
ligion, which is only another name for justice, consists in re- 
cognizing and maintaining these rights, which man alone can 
and should do, because he alone, by reason of his rational 
nature, is endowed with the faculties, powers and means of 
knowing and upholding them. 

2. I trust my readers will also grant that religion, 
objectively considered, is simply God's will expressed and 
made known to man, and consequently man has religion and 
is truly religious only and so far as he thinks, speaks and 
acts in conformity with that will; that religion being God's 
will it must be truth, for God cannot will or express error, 
can have no right to wrong; and being truth itself, can be 
honored, worshipped and pleased only by truth; that religion 
being truth it must be (a) one, immutable and universal, for 
such are the well known and universally recognized attributes 
of truth; and (b) an essential condition of true liberty, for 
man is bound only to God or his order and is truly free only 
and so far as he is subject to him and governed only by him, 
that is, by truth, right and justice. 

3. I am sure it will be further conceded that God alone, 
because Creator and supreme legislator, has the right to 
establish a religion or found a church for the purpose of 
teaching it, that is, to tell us his will, to make known to us 


the real and full relationship that exists between him and us 
and the duties arising, on our part, out of such relationship; 
and consequently that a man-made religion or church, that is, 
a religion or church that, without proper divine authorization, 
usurps the legislative office of God, and thus substitute or 
may substitute the will of man for the will of God, and 
imposes it as such on mankind, is worse than worthless. 

4. Finally, it will be granted that if man, the rational 
creature, can impose any obligation on his Creator, it must 
be that, as he binds and must bind man to do his will and 
must, in justice, punish him for not doing it — "if thou wilt 
enter into life keep my commandments" — it follows that he 
is bound, also in justice, to make known to him his will or 
commandments, and in a manner so certain that he can have 
no reasonable doubt that what he believes and obeys is in- 
fallibly God's will and not man's. Man's insistence on God 
discharging this duty is both rational and proper and is his 
only escape from the greatest conceivable slavery, that of 
obeying man instead of God. 

Agreed, as I trust we are, on these primary and essential 
principles of religion, whether natural or supernatural, we 
will now hasten on to examine the Catholic Church, and, first 
of all, its foundation, its chief and most important part, as it 
is, indeed, of any structure, material* or spiritual. It is the 
foundation that defines, supports and holds in unity an 
edifice and imparts to it stability, strength and durability. 
If there is anything weak, deficient or rotten in any institu- 
tion it is generally traceable to, if not actually found in, the 


Now, the whole vast fabric of the Catholic Church rests on 
one sole fact or truth —the divinity of Jesus Christ — which, 
consequently, is her fundamental doctrine. With this she 
must stand or fall. It is not necessary to occupy any of my 
brief space by giving any lengthy proofs of this common Chris- 
tian doctrine to you, my dear readers, who, I am sure, believe 
and accept it as firmly and sincerely as do Catholics them- 
selves. However, as I am not so sure you believe it in the 
same sense, I deem it necessary to give yo:i the Catholic 


doctrine with a few proofs, which, because scriptural, I sup- 
pose you will accept as such. 

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is not a 
mere elect child or special creation of God, or in any sense or 
manner a creature, but that he is the eternal and only Son of 
God; God of God, Light of Light; the expression of the Eternal 
Father, with whom he is one in nature and substance, and 
to whom he is equal in all divine attributes, power and glory. 
St John, the Evangelist, (Cap. I) calls him "Logos," that is, 
the eternal word or expression of God, and expressly states 
that this word was in the beginning with God, was God; who 
became incarnate, was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. 
Christ himself constantly and publicly claimed for himself 
real divinity, and his hearers, the Jews, evidently understood 
him to make this claim. It was on account of this claim, 
which, according to the Jewish law, was blasphemy, and there- 
fore punishable by death, that he was condemned and final- 
ly crucified. "Being man," say his accusers, "he makest 
himself God" (John 10). He repeatedly made use of words 
and expressions which could have no meaning except that 
he was really and truly God. "I and the Father are One" 
(John 10). "He who seeth me seeth the Father." "I am 
in the Father and the Father in me" (John 14). He claimed 
all the essential attributes of God, even his omnipotence. "All 
power is given me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28). 
Of course none nor all of these yet unsupported statements 
prove Christ to be God. Even their extraordinary character 
only renders them less reliable, less worthy of belief. A person 
is not God because he says so. No one understood and real- 
ized this better than did Christ himself, who, accordingly, 
warned his followers against believing the vain cries and 
groundless statements of future false Christs. The whole 
tenor of his words and actions clearly shows that he fully 
recognized the demands of our rational nature in religious 
matters and, consequently, in introducing his religion and 
in asking man to accept it, he did not wish man to believe or 
act blindly, or, in fact, to sacrifice or ignore a single ray of the 
light of reason. He made it evident to all that he came on earth 
to treat man as man, to speak to him as man, to teach, con- 


vince, save, and lead him to the very portals of heaven, as 
man, that is, as a rational and reasoning being, for as such 
only is he a subject of religion and capable of believing and 
practising it, and as such worthy of heaven and God. In 
fact, so far from treating man in this unreasonable manner 
he, on the contrary, tells him to hold fast to his reason and 
not to take the least step towards him except in and by its 
light. "I give not testimony of myself, or if I do my testi- 
mony is nothing. There is one in heaven who giveth testi- 
mony of me. " "If you believe not me, believe my works." 
And to the disciples sent by the Baptist to ask him who he 
was, he said: "Go back and tell John what you have seen 
and heard; that by my power, my word, the blind see, the 
deaf hear, the sick are healed, the leapers are cleansed, and 
the dead come forth from the graves." These will tell John 
the Baptist better than any words of mine who and what I 
am, that God is in me, with me, and working through me. 

Jesus Christ came on earth with a very extraordinary 
claim, indeed, but he took great care to give extraordinary, 
adequate proofs. By the wonders and miracles he publicly 
wrought he clearly showed that he was master of life and 
death and that all the powers and forces of nature, even the 
winds and the waves, were subject to his will and word and that 
consequently, he made no idle boast when he said: "All power 
is given me in heaven and on earth." Nor were these 
wonderful and divine works performed in secret, in the dark, 
or behind screens and curtains, but they were all wrought 
in the midst of the light of day, on the public streets and 
highways, on the tops of mountains and in the presence of 
hundreds, sometimes of thousands, friends and enemies. 
And when he saw that this long array of miracles did not 
convince the Jews of the truth of his claim, and that they 
still clamored for greater proofs — "Signs from heaven' — al- 
though he mildly upbraided them for their incredulity and 
unreasonableness, yet, fearing lest the full demands of reason 
in this all-important matter may not yet have been satisfied, 
he tells them that he will give them one more sign — surely 
from heaven — that is, the giving of life to his own dead 
body, his own resurrection from the dead — the greatest sign 


that even God can give to man. "Destroy this body of 
mine and in three days I will build it up again." And that 
he did. build it up to the satisfaction of his friends and the 
civilized world and in sight of all the powers of hell, is a 
fact as firmly fixed in the firmament of history as are the 
pyramids on the sands of the desert. St. Paul challenged 
the philosophers of Greece and Rome to disprove this fact 
of the resurrection, on which, as a foundation, he rested the 
whole Christian cause. "If Christ is not risen vain is our 
preaching, vain also our faith." But the philosophers and 
the world, instead of overthrowing it, built upon it their 
faith and hope for time and eternity. 

Now reason is caught here between the two horns of a 
dilemma. Jesus Christ was God, as he claimed, or he was not. 
If he was not, that is, if he were man or a creature, however 
special, then (pardon the expression) he was a liar and an 
im poster who deliberately and purposely deceived the noblest 
and best of our race since his time and will continue to de- 
ceive them to the end, by passing himself for God, and who 
consequently bound mankind in the fetters of a code of a 
false morality and has caused, and daily causes the destruc- 
tion of thousands of martyrs in the lying cause of his as- 
sumed and pretended divinity. If he was not God, then 
human reason has good cause for asserting that there is and 
can be no God, or, at least, no God that cares anything about 
man. For how could God, in such a case, have suffered 
the worship, the honor, the love due to him alone to have 
been usurped by so sacrilegious and, at the same time, so 
tpecious an idolatry. "No," cries out the great Napoleon 
when dying on the barren rocks of St. Helena, "there would 
exist no God in heaven if it had been possible for a creature 
to conceive and execute with similar success the gigantic 
scheme of usurping the supreme worship by usurping the 
name of God." 

On the other hand, if he is God then his word is truth, 
his precepts the obligatory rule of life; his commandments 
the world's law; his judgments infallible and inevitable; his 
promises unfailing, and the Church that he established must 
be heard and obeyed. 



Christ, after having thus firmly established his divinity, 
was fully qualified and authorized, not only to teach, but to 
command man, who, if consistent with his rational nature, 
should hear and obey him. His own testimony was no longer 
valueless but infallible and his voice the voice of God. 
Accordingly he taught a system of doctrine and morals, the 
practical acceptance of which he declared to be essential to 
the peace and happiness of man here and hereafter. But as 
he intended to remain on earth only a short time it was 
necessary that he should appoint and leave after him some 
institution; some adequate means to teach mankind his sys- 
tem, so costly to himself and so necessary to all men, and to 
perpetuate it in all its integrity and purity until the end of 
time; and thus, to fulfill his promise — "to enlighten every 
man that cometh into this world." For this end and purpose 
he established a church: that is, called together and formed 
into a society a body of men known as his Apostles. These 
he commissioned and duly authorized to go forth and preach 
his gospel, his doctrines, to all mankind. To this organized 
body of teachers he transferred his own mission, the self- 
same mission that he received from his Eternal Father, 
together with all the power and authority necessary for its 
proper execution. This body of teachers were to take his 
place and to be his agents in all that appertains to the work 
of teaching, regenerating and saving humanity. "As the 
Father hath sent me I also send you; and then breathing on 
them, he said, receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20). 
"Going therefore teach all nations whatsoever I have com- 
manded you" (Matt. 28). 

Now, a brief examination of this church founded by 
Christ and commissioned by him in the most express and 
formal manner, will clearly show us that he endowed it with 
certain properties and marks by which it could be easily 
known and distinguished from all the false Christian churches 
which he foresaw and predicted would spring up in all fu- 
ture ages. 

1. The Church of Christ was visible. The Apostles 



were certainly such. Their office was to teach, to reprove, 
to baptize and to perform other similar public functions — all 
which necessarily implied theft visibility. He said his 
church was "the light of the world," but by what figure of 
speech can light be said to be invisible? 

2. It was to be indefectible. It was the work of God, 
and his work cannot fail nor "his word pass away." He 
himself declared that he would "build his church upon a 
rock and that the gates of hell could not prevail against it" 
(Matt. 1 6). The gates of hell would have prevailed against 
the church the moment it failed or ceased to be what it was 
when founded. St. Paul calls the church the "pillar and 
ground of truth." Since, therefore, the Church of Christ is 
the foundation, the support of truth, it must be, to say the 
least, as indefectible and indestructible as truth. 

3. The church founded by Christ was infallible, that is, 
it could not err in the discharge of its proper and official 
duties, in teaching matters of faith and morals. A teacher 
directly appointed by God is necessarily infallible in what he 
has to teach. No loving parent would place over his chil- 
dren a fallible teacher when he could appoint an infallible 
one. Besides, we should expect a little more of God than of 
man, and any common man could establish a fallible church. 
But Christ settled this matter very clearly and satisfactorily 
by his words and promises — "I will be with you all days, to 
the end of the world" (Matt. 28). "I will send you 
another Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, to teach you all truth 
and to abide with you for ever" (Matt. 20). "He that 
heareth you heareth me, and he who despiseth you despiseth 
me" (Luke 10). How or why place this strict obligation 
on heaven unless the teachers should infallibly teach the 
truth? And again: "Go ye into the whole world and preach 
my gospel; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, 
he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16). His 
church, therefore, should preach only truth, otherwise why 
condemn man for believing error, or what, in case the teach- 
ers were fallible, may be such? 

4. The Church of Christ, conformably to reason, was 
and should be one. Truth was to be the object of its teach- 


ing, and truth is one and cannot be in contradiction with 
itself. "There is but one Lord, one faith and one baptism," 
says St. Paul (Eph. 4). And Christ himself says, "Other 
sheep I have which are not of this fold; these also must be 
brought in so that there may be one fold and one shepherd" 
(John 10). So important did Christ consider this unity or 
oneness of his church that he made it the object of a special 
prayer to his Eternal Father: "And not for them [his 
Apostles] only do I pray, but for those also who through 
their word shall believe in me, that they also may be one, 
even as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee" (John 18). 
The unity or oneness here prayed for is of the highest con- 
ceivable type, that metaphysical unity existing between him 
and his Father. It was not a mere spiritual or invisible 
unity, but one that could be seen and thus serve as a proof to 
the world of his divine mission, "that the world may believe 
that Thou hast sent me" (John 18). 

5. The Church of Christ was holy; holy in its founder, 
in its doctrines, sacraments and members. The object of 
his church was to bring all men, if possible, to the way of 
truth and salvation: "This is the will of God, your sanctifi- 
cation" (1 Thess. 4). But it could not make others holy 
unless itself was intrinsically holy. "Christ loved the 
church," says St. Paul, "and delivered himself up for her 
that he might sanctify her and preserve her from spot or 
blemish" (Eph 5). 

6. The church founded by Christ was to be catholic or 
universal; catholic as to place, time and doctrine, which may 
be clearly inferred from the commission of Christ, "Go teach 
all nations all things I have commanded you and, behold, 
I am with you all days until the consummation of the world." 
All nations should be taught all and the same things and 
throughout all time. 

7. The Church of Christ had a head or supreme ruler 
and teacher. This head evidently was St. Peter, whom 
Christ made the foundation of his church: "Upon thee 
[Peter] I will build my church;" for whom he specially 
prayed: "But I have prayed for thee [Peter] that thy faith 
fail not;" whom he made the confirmer of his brother Apos- 


ties: ''that once converted thou mayest confirm thy breth- 
ren;" and whom, finally, he appointed chief pastor of his 
whole flock: "Peter, feed my lambs and feed my sheep." 

We may now see at one glance what the Catholic Church 
holds and teaches concerning herself, her origin, her consti- 
tution, organization, mission, powers and properties, when I 
state that she, from the very beginning, from the ascension of 
Christ, up to the present, has always and everywhere asserted, 
taught and defended that she is that self-same, identical 
church which Christ himself built upon the rock and against 
which, as he declared, the gates of hell could not prevail; 
and consequently to her, the Catholic Church, rightfully 
belong all those marks, powers, properties and prerogatives 
which, as we have seen, characterized the Church of Christ. 
Of course, the fact that the Catholic Church asserts that she 
is the church founded by Christ is no proof that she is such. 
Whether she is or is not is a matter of inquiry, of history and 
of fact. However, unless Christ has purposely deceived the 
world, there must have existed throughout all time since his 
departure from this earth, and up to the present, such a 
church as he so manifestly and publicly instituted. His 
purpose in coming on earth under the form of man, and as 
such suffering and dying, was, as he repeatedly stated, "to 
enlighten all men," "to bring to the knowledge of the truth 
and save all." And the only means he appointed and left 
behind him for the accomplishment of this work was his 
church or an organized body of teachers holding his mis- 
sion, leading with all his divine authority and infallibility 
and having his express promise that he would be back of 
them, assisting and protecting them until the end of time. 
It is, therefore, ar least hopeful and encouraging to humanity, 
as well as creditable to Christ, that there has ever existed 
since his time a church publicly asserting and maintaining, 
very often at terrible cost to herself, that she is his church. 
If the Catholic Church be not that founded by Christ, 
then it will be extremely difficult, nay, impossible, to show 
that any other church is his, and, consequently, his church 
must have failed and the gates of hell, contrary to his pro- 
mise, must have prevailed against it. 



It cannot be said that the Bible takes the place of the 
church, for the New Testament, at least, is simply the crea- 
ture, the production of the church, which is its sole witness 
and the only voucher for its inspiration. A book, no more 
than man, is inspired because it says so. The inspiration of 
the Bible is evidently an invisible fact and is, therefore, not 
a matttr for history or proof by human testimony. Christ 
did not write a word of the New Testament nor did he com- 
mand his Apostles or any one else to write it. He did, how- 
ever, establish a church, and this church existed in all the 
plenitude of its power and authority, taught his doctrines 
and, it is to be hoped, saved many souls long before a line of 
the New Testament was written. Christ had long since 
ascended to heaven ere some of the Apostles and their dis- 
ciples, in order to aid their memory and for their own con- 
venience and that of those people committed to their charge, 
commenced to write the sayings and doings of Christ and his 
apostles. The church already established and duly authorized 
to teach, examined these writings, and finding them in accord 
with what she heard from the lips of Christ, received them, 
pronounced them inspired, the word of God, taught that hence- 
forth they should be believed and received as such by all 
Christians. This teaching of the church '-to hear which, Christ 
declared, was to hear himself," raised the New Testament from 
the place of common history into that of a supernatural or 
inspired record, and as such, it has been ever since held and 
believed by all professing Christians. It is only through the 
infallible voice of the church or body of teachers appointed 
by Christ that we, therefore, can have certainty of the invis- 
ible and otherwise unknowable fact of the inspiration of the 
sacred scriptures. And not only this, but the infallible teach- 
ing of the church is also necessary to interpret the scriptures, 
to give us their true meaning — that intended by the Holy 
Ghost, the spirit of truth. Human words and language are 
susceptible of various and even contradictory meanings. 
The Bible is a dead letter and says, simply, what the reader 
makes it say, and it is evident, from the many existing dif- 


ferent and contradictory forms of Christianity, each taking its 
doctrines from the Bible, that the reader makes it say many 
strange and ungodly things — individual inspiration or illumin- 
ation to the contrary, notwithstanding. Writings or language 
interpreted by fallible authority becomes logically fallible. 
Pegora sequitur semper conclusio partene. Besides, private, un- 
official interpretation of the Bible is wrong in principle and 
reverses the real order. It places man above God, makes the 
Creator subject to the creature, who becomes the real legisla- 
tor, for the interpreter of a law is practically the law maker. 
Christ certainly was not less wise than man, and the man that 
would attempt to found a state, organize a government, or 
constitute even the smallest and most insignificant society, 
without making provision, in the way of a head or supreme 
court, for the official interpretation of its constitutions, laws 
and regulations; would simply stultify himself before the world. 
Without the living voice of the infallible church, therefore, as 
a supreme court to interpret the sacred scriptures, to decide 
and declare their true meaning, there would be no means of 
knowing with certainty what Christianity is in detail, and the 
inspired Bible would become, as it actually is, an apple of 


Neither reason, Christ nor his church demands our ac- 
ceptance or obedience without certitude. That this is true 
of reason and Christ I have already shown in the beginning 
of this article; and that the church does not exact it is clear 
from her definition of faith. Faith, according to the 
Catholic Church, is an assent of the mind to a truth revealed 
by God, without any doubt or fear of error. Doubt, there- 
fore, which is incompatible with truth, is also incompatible 
with faith. He who believes, in the Catholic sense, does 
not doubt; and he who doubts does not believe. 

St. Paul calls faith "the evidence of things that appear 
not," and states that there "is but one faith, without which 
it is impossible to please God." But how is this one, all- 
necessary faith to be had? The same great Apostle of the 
Gentiles answers: "Faith comes through hearing." How 
comes hearing? He answers again, "through preaching," 


and adds, "but how can they preach except they be sent?" 
That is, how can people believe as true, as God's will, as 
true religion — what is preached unless they have some guar- 
anty that those who preach are sent and duly commissioned 
by God to preach his law to them; for how, otherwise, could 
they have that certainty, that evidence necessary, according 
to reason and St. Paul, to elicit an act of faith? Human 
reason is outraged when asked to believe and accept as truth 
what may be error. 

Concrete human nature may not have any more love for 
the Catholic Church than it had for its divine founder, as her 
mission, like his, is to condemn its inordinate and sinful pas- 
sions and to keep them within the bounds of right and rea- 
son. But pure reason, that is, in the abstract, cannot fail to 
see in this old but yet young and vigorous institution certain 
features which it must admire and recognize as marks of 
divinity. Passing over her marvelous organization — "the 
most wonderful piece of human policy," as M. Guizot re- 
marks, "that the world ever saw" — let us take a glance at 
some of her principal claims. 

The Catholic Church asserts and has always asserted 
that she represents God in the religious and moral order. 
Now, whom or what does reason say she, or in fact any 
crjurch, should represent? Man? That is to represent man 
and at the same time to teach and dogmatize as God! To 
represent man and yet to exact obedience due only to God! 
— the greatest conceivable slavery. Man had been long 
enough representing man and history clearly shows that he 
can represent only man, that is, ignorance, blindness, doubt 
and utter imbecility in the moral order. Should not a church 
having the sanction of reason represent right, truth, justice 
and all good? And how represent these without represent- 
ing God, who is all these in an infinite degree? 

The Catholic Church has always maintained that she is 
infallible in teaching faith and morals, and an unerring guide 
to heaven and to God. Surely reason cannot find fault with her 
for this. This is precisely the very thing that has been always 
and is still needed. This is the very thing that brought the 
Son of God from heaven and which he expressly promised to 


give to the world. "He who follows me walks not in dark- 
ness. I am the way, the truth and the life. You shall know 
the truth and the truth shall make you free." This is the 
very thing which poor, blind humanity has been crying out 
for from the beginning from the very depths of its misery and 
blindness. How could reason, after its long and sad experi- 
ence with fallible teachers and erring guides, accept any but 
an infallible teacher? Besides, of what use would be a 
fallible teacher? Who would pay any serious attention to 
its teachings, which in reality may be error? What cares 
man for any authority that does not speak to and command 
him in the name and authority of God? When hard pressed 
by his passions, what is more easy and natural to him than to 
reason himself out of the teachings of fallibility. Infallibility 
is the Achillean heel of the Catholic Church, the only vulner- 
able spot on her whole body, and the impenetrable panoply 
in which, as in a mantle, she wraps herself up and defends 
and renders reasonable all her defined teaching in faith and 

Once more, the Catholic Church asserts that she is the 
"salt of the earth," that she possesses, through her sacra- 
mental system, supernatural power or grace to lift up man, 
to regenerate him and heal all his moral maladies. Is not 
this the very power that reason and experience tell u%is 
needed? Does not man, evidently, need to be healed and 
lifted up morally, and is it not a fact that man, by his own 
natural strength, can no more raise himself in the moral than he 
can in the physical order? What, then, but a supernatural 
power can raise him up from the deep abyss into which his 
passions have plunged him, when, naturally, he does not 
wish, nay even opposes with all his strength and violence of 
his inferior nature, any such elevation? Who ever heard of 
a spontaneous cry for moral relief coming from the dark 
depths of paganism? Had not the church almost to force 
Christianity and its virtues on the nations that she converted 
and civilized? And even in this our own land, illuminated 
and warmed, as it is, by the rays of Christian light and life, 
what little desire there is for the knowledge of Christian 
doctrines and the practice of Christian virtues! Or rather, I 


should say, what an opposition there is to them, what a clos- 
ing of eyes, sealing of ears, and locking of hearts! How evi- 
dent, then, that the power that can open those eyes, unseal 
those ears, and unlock those hearts must be superior to 
man's and, therefore, supernatural. 

In conclusion, reason can find no logical standing ground 
between the Catholic Church and infidelity. If the Catholic 
Church is not what she asserts and has always asserted her- 
self to be, then she falls, and with her must also fall the 
inspiration of the Bible, the divinity of Christ and the whole 
Christian system, for all these are logically and indissolubly 
connected and must stand or fall together, and there remains 
for us nothing but our own individual judgment, which natur- 
ally tends to and ultimately ends in infidelity. Mr. Ingersoll 
commenced with his own private judgment and now judges 
that the Bible is only a book of myths and fables. Infidelity 
has long since accepted the alternative of reason and has made 
its choice accordingly. Here is what Mr. Proudhon says: 
"Do you believe in a God? if you do then you are a Christian, 
a Catholic; if you do not, dare to avow it: for then it will not 
only be to the church that you declare war, but to the faith 
of the whole human race. Between these two alternatives 
there is room for nothing except ignorance and insincerity. 
I should never have disputed the authority of the church did 
I admit the supernatural; I should have bowed down before 
a creed so antique, the production of the most learned and 
prolonged elaboration of which the human mind has given 
us an example. Oh! Christianity is sublime — sublime in the 
majesty of its dogma and chain of its induction. A more 
elevated idea, a vaster system was never conceived or organ- 
ized amongst men, and I here solemnly avow that if the 
Catholic Church succeeds in overthrowing the system of 
argument (anti-theistical) which I oppose to her, I will abjure 
my philosophy and die in her bosom. If you acknowl- 
edge a Supreme Being, then kneel before the Crucified." 
{Proudhon de la Justice dans la Revolution et dans VEglise, VI, 
pages 36-38.) 




A proper treatment of the subject requires a brief dis- 
cussion of the Constitution of the United States so far as it 
affects the admission of states, and the relation of states to 
the union. 

In speaking of statehood and how it was achieved, of 
necessity the national sphere entered upon, as well as the 
authority by which a dependency is transformed into a sov- 
ereign and indestructible state, must be considered. The birth 
of a state is an event not only important to persons dwelling 
within its borders, but also to those residing in every part of 
the union. The status of the former is changed and new 
relations and obligations are created, which raise all persons 
to an equal participation in the advantages and immunities 
enjoyed by those residing in the strongest and oldest of the 
commonwealths comprising the federal union. The states 
are so correlated, and by the terms of the Constitution bear 
such an inter-relation one to the other, that the formation of 
a new one not only is of interest to, but affects all the others. 
History furnished no prototype to aid the fathers in the for- 
mation of that unique aud masterful system of government 
which, while it presents an imperial and national front and 
is vested with authority to deal with national and interna- 
tional affairs, yet possesses that local governmental and sov- 
ereign strength that protects the individual and insures do- 
mestic security. History was to them the serial obituary of 


men who had struggled, oftentimes heroically, for the over- 
throw of tyrannies and the establishment of governments 
crowned with like sovereignty as those constituting the 

Under our system of government Utah, the youngest of 
the states, put aside the vestments of pupilage and terri- 
torial vassalage and quietly stepped upon the broad plane 
occupied by the forty-five commonwealths, and so instanti 
became vested with the same authority and the possessor of 
the same rights enjoyed and exercised by the greatest of the 
states. To see carved from a mighty empire of territory, a 
vast domain, and without contest or friction a government 
established and inter-related with others and yet possessing 
an independence which makes it the guardian of the domes- 
tic security and happiness of the individual, and that this 
could be done peacefully and without revolution, would have 
been regarded as Utopian before this government was 
formed, and is a prophecy of the wisdom of our fathers and 
the integrity of the Constitution which, under God, they de- 
vised. The authors of the federal constitution were mari- 
ners upon an unexplored sea. It is true in the Achean and 
Lycean Leagues, and perhaps in the Hanseatic League, as 
well as the Swiss cantons, which were merely alliances, and 
the United Netherlands, which were only an assemblage of 
states, examples were found from the wrecks of which some 
flotsam and jetsam might be obtained; but the schismatic, 
and indeed chaotic, careers they led, supplemented by their 
downfall, afforded but little light, and could not be the basis 
of any profound faith to those who were building for the 
ages liberty's immortal temple. Nor must we forget the fur- 
ther difficulties these experimental government builders en- 
countered; apparently insurmountable' obstacles to national 
unity were occasioned by the almost irreconcilable differences 
between the thirteen states, and also the jealousies which 
were not forgotten nor fully silenced in the hour of great 
peril. Hamilton, who so earnestly labored for the adoption 
of the Constitution, was apprehensive of the result. He 
stated that "The establishment of a Constitution in time of 
profound peace by the voluntary consent of the whole people 


is a prodigy to the completion of which I look forward with 
trembling anxiety." 

The weakness of the thirteen states against foreign ag- 
gression, as well as the dangers menacing them from inter- 
necine strife, was apparent to the statesmen of the revolution. 
Without union they perceived that the contest with England 
would result in their destruction, and that if independence by 
union were achieved, only by establishing a more perfect 
union could that independence be preserved. Early in the 
year 1776 Thomas Paine wrote: "Nothing but a continental 
form of government can keep the peace of the continent." 
Later on he said: "We have every opportunity and every en- 
couragement to form the noblest, purest Constitution on the 
face of the earth." And the great Wilson, whose philosophic 
mind contributed so much to constitutional government, 
said: "By adopting this Constitution we shall become a 
union. We are not now one. We shall form a national 
character; we are now too dependent upon others." 

It was an auspicious occasion for the establishment of a 
new form of government. The great Frederick, with a lofty 
cynicism had recently proclaimed the inability of people for 
self-government, and had declared for the perpetuity of impe- 
rialism. His views were shared by the rulers and leaders of 
Europe. The spirit of democracy seemed to be crushed and 
the fires of liberty extinguished. However, the hour for 
liberty was ripe and the task was essayed of founding a gov- 
ernment in which the balances were to be adjusted which 
would give national unity and local independence. Those 
engaging in this labor recognized, as Bancroft says, "the 
supremacy of the general government in its sphere," and also 
regarded the states as "the parents, the protectors and the 
stay of the union. The union without self-existent states 
is a harp without strings; the states without union are chords 
that are unstrung. The states as they give life to the union 
are necessary to the continuation of that life. Within their 
own limits they are the guardians of industry, of property, of 
personal rights and of liberty. * * * The states and the 
United States are not antagonists, and the system can have 
life and health and strength and beauty only by their har- 


monious action." Both the sentimental and the rational ap- 
plication of the doctrine of laissez /aire were sought in the 
formation of the Constitution and in the organic law of the 

While it is true the despotism of the old world produced 
more or less a revolutionary spirit in the new, and the school 
of philosophy led by Rosseau had influenced the political 
philosophy of the American people, there was more than a 
sentimental regard for individual liberty and local self-gov- 
ernment. Domestic tranquility, security of life, person and 
property and, above all, liberty of thought and speech and 
of conscience, were sought in the enforcement of the ration- 
alistic interpretation of the principle of governmental non- 
interference. While, as stated, the past furnished no proto- 
type, still some of the thirteen states had adopted, prior to 
the formation of the Federal Constitution, state constitutions 
in which the tripartite division into executive, legislative and 
judicial power had been made. That noble work, The Spirit 
of Laws, written by Montesquieu and published at Geneva 
forty years before, had pointed out the evils of despotic gov- 
ernments and the necessity of having checks and balances 
established by a division of the authority and power of gov- 
ernment, in order to preserve a proper equilibrium and pro- 
mote freedom. And the tripartite division suggested by him 
undoubtedly influenced the framers of the federal and state 

Virginia, under the guidance of Patrick Henry, adopted 
a constitution in which the powers of government were pro- 
perly classified and the limitations upon the executive, legis- 
lative, and judicial departments clearly prescribed. Madison 
and Adams, and most of those engaged in framing the Con- 
stitution, contended that this tripartite division of power was 
indispensably necessary to the formation of a government 
wherein liberty could be preserved and the functions of all 
parts of the system properly respected and utilized. The 
articles of confederation had proven defective; the centripetal 
and centrifugal forces had not been properly adjusted. To 
preserve the independence of the states and enable them to 
retain control over the citizen in all domestic concerns, and 


at the same time unite discordant sovereignties for national 
purposes and so adjust the relations of all as to produce a 
harmonious system of local and national government, was a 
work the consummation of which must ever be regarded as 
the perfection of statesmanship and the result of divine inter- 
position. "The American Constitution is the most wonderful 
work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose 
of man." This eulogy by Mr. Gladstone is not unde- 

Let us now examine whether this instrument, under 
which statehood was obtained, is applicable to us. It has 
been argued that the builders of the Constitution con- 
templated the formation of a federal government limited in 
area to the thirteen states and such as might be formed from 
the domain ceded by them. By some it has been contended 
that a government constituted as ours is could only exist 
where the local sovereignties or states were limited in num- 
ber; that the creation of others would tend to disturb the 
equipoise of the federal and state governments and lead in- 
evitably to a dissolution of the union by a withdrawal of the 
states therefrom; or that the difficulties would be so great of 
exercising legitimate and proper federal control over states 
at a remote distance, and especially where divergent interests 
and views, produced by climatic or industrial conditions, ex- 
isted, that the parent government would gradually increase 
its power until the dual form of government would be extin- 
guished and the states be lost in the absolutism of the United 

Eminent men, predicating their conclusions upon the 
history of Greece and Switzerland, had stated that democracy 
could only exist in small and compact territories; that vast 
domains could be governed only by the concentration of 
great power in one or few persons. That this view was 
shared by some who were truly patriotic and devoted to the 
interests of the American people cannot be denied. How- 
ever, we learn that there were many noble men, such as Wil- 
son and John Adams, who regarded most, if not all, of 
North America, as the patrimony of the Republic and the 
ultimate home of millions, happy in the liberty afforded by 


the state and secure in the strength given by the federal 

Philip Freneau, the poet of the revolution, predicted the 
territorial expansion of the Republic in these words: 

* * * * "I see 
Freedom's established reign, cities and men, 
Numerous as the sands upon the ocean's shore, 
And empires rising where the sun descends! 
The Ohio soon shall glide by many a town 
Of note; and where the Mississippi's stream 
By forests shaded, now runs sweeping on, 
Nations shall grow, and states — not less in fame 
Than Greece and Rome of old. We, too, shall boast 
Our Scipios, Solons, Catos, sages, chiefs, 
That in the lap of time yet dormant lie, 
Waiting the joyous hour of life and light." 

It will be remembered that at the time of the adoption 
of the Constitution the United States did not extend west of 
the Mississippi river, and a portion of the territory lying east 
of it was not embraced within the union. At various times 
it has been vehemently argued both in and out of congress, 
that the authority of congress to admit new states into the 
union was confined to such as might be formed from the ter- 
ritory belonging to the states or the federal government at 
the time of the latter's creation. 

Section 3 of Article IV of the Constitution provides that: 
"New states may be admitted by the congress into the union, 
but no new states shall be formed or erected within the 
jurisdiction of any other state, nor any state be formed by 
the junction of two or more states or parts of states, without 
the consent of the legislature of the states concerned, as 
well as of the congress." 

Under this provision there can be no question as to the 
power of congress to admit new states carved out of the 
territory which the federal government acquired at the time 
of its organization, but as stated, it was contended by great 
political parties that neither this provision nor any other of 
the Constitution, conferred authority for the acquisition, either 
by conquest or purchase or otherwise, of any other territory, 
and when Jefferson obtained from Napoleon, in 1803, that 


great empire known as the Louisiana purchase, he enter- 
tained doubts as to the constitutionality of the act and urged 
the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution authoriz- 
ing the purchase. Webster expressed doubts as to the power 
of congress to admit the republic of Texas as a state, be- 
cause it never had been under the jurisdiction of the United 
States Government either de facto or de jure — thus, apparently, 
making a distinction between vesting a people and country, 
not a part of the national domain, with the attributes of state- 
hood, and the admission of territory possessed by the United 
States Government. Chief Justice Marshall in the case of 
the American Insurance Co. vs Canter, (i Beter's Reports, 
page 546), speaking of the right of congress to legislate for a 
territory said: "The right to govern may be the inevitable 
consequence of the right to acquire territory." 

It would seem from this that the court conceded to the 
federal government the same right claimed by nations from 
the earliest times, namely: to acquire territory, either by sub- 
jugation or purchase. Aside from the ethical phase of the 
question, publicists and law writers have deemed it to be an 
attribute of sovereignty to acquire territory and govern it and 
its people. It would seem, however, that the federal gov- 
ernment, being one of delegated powers and "the powers 
not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor 
prohibited by it to the states," having been "reserved to the 
states respectively, or to the people," could not acquire terri- 
tory unless the authority was conferred, and its exercise would 
be an act of usurpation. But whether the power exists or 
not, it has been repeatedly exercised. In the recent con- 
gress measures were introduced looking to the absorption by 
the United States of the Hawaiian Republic. Florida was 
obtained from Spain; Texas, after obtaining its independence 
from Mexico, was admitted; the treaty of Guadaloupe Hi- 
dalgo gave to the United States that vast area from which 
were organized the states of California, Nevada and Utah, 
and which also contributed to Wyoming and Colorado and 
largely to New Mexico and Arizona. Later, further land was 
acquired from Mexico by the Gadsden purchase, and in 1867 
the inhospitable but valuable territory of Alaska was pur- 


chased from the Russian government. Thus the right of the 
federal government to acquire territory is firmly established. 
Whether territorial expansion beyond the present limits of 
the United States, as a permanent national policy, is the part 
of wisdom, may be open to question; but no one has ground 
for objection to the policy that has given us a country swept 
by two mighty oceans and washed by the great lakes on 
the north and the waters of the gulf on the south. 


Is it worth while to listen 
To ought that the world may say? 
Is it worth while to heed the praise, 
Or blame — of life's short day? 
Let men slander as they will, 
And whisper falsest words of ill — 
Don't mind — but keep thy spirit still, 
Noble, pure and true. 

For in this mortal life of ours, 

We form the life that is to be — 

Our habits form our characters — 

And character our destiny. 

It matters not what men may say — 

Of no avail is slandering spite; 

For nought can harm the steadfast soul 

That trusts in God and does the right. « 

— Reginal B. Span, in Intelligence. 



A deadly feud subsisted, almost from time immemorial, 
between the families of M'Pherson, of Bendearg, and Grant, 
of Cairn, and was handed down 'unimpaired' even > to the 
close of the last century. In earlier times the warlike chiefs 
of these names found frequent opportunities of testifying 
their mutual animosity; and few inheritors of the fatal quarrel 
left the world without having moistened it with the blood of 
their hereditary enemies. But in our own day the progress 
of civilization, which had reached even these wild countries — 
the heart of the North Highlands — although it could not ex- 
tinguish entirely the transmitted spirit of revenge, at least 
kept it within safe bounds, and the feuds of M'Pherson and 
Grant threatened, in the course of another generation, to die 
entirely away; or at least to exist only in some vexatious law 
suit, fostered by the petty jealousies of two men of hostile 
tempers and contiguous property. 

It was not, however, without some ebullitions of ancient 
fierceness that the flame which had burned for so many cen- 
turies seemed about to expire. Once, at a meeting of the coun- 
try gentlemen, a question of privilege arising, Bendearg took 
occasion to throw out some taunts aimed at his hereditary 
foe, which the fiery Grant immediately received as the signal 
of defiance, and a challenge was the consequence. The 
sheriff of the county, however, having received intimation of 
the affair, put both parties under arrest; till at length, by the 
persuasions of their friends — not friends by blood — and the 
representations of the magistrates, they shook hands, and 


each pledged his honour to forget — at least never again to 
remember in speech or action, the ancient feud of his family. 
This occurrence at the time was the object of much interest 
in the 'country side;' the rather that it seemed to give the lie 
to the prophecies, of which many a highland family has an 
ample stock in its traditionary chronicles, and which expressly 
predicted that the enmity of Cairn and Bendearg should only 
be quenched in blood, and on this seemingly cross-grained 
circumstance some of the young men who had begun to be 
tainted with the heresies of the lowlands, were seen to shake 
their heads as the)^ reflected on the tales and the faith of their 
ancestors; but the gray-haired seers shook theirs still more 
wisely, and answered with the motto of a noble house — T 
bide my time.' 

There is a narrow pass between two mountains in the 
neighborhood of Bendearg, well known to the traveler who 
adventures into these wilds in quest of the savage sublimities 
of nature. At a little distance it has the appearance of an 
immense artificial bridge thrown over a wide chasm; but on a 
nearer approach, is seen to be a wall of nature's own masonry, 
formed of vast and rugged bodies of solid rock piled on each 
other, as if in the giant sport of the architect. Its sides are 
in some places covered with trees of considerable size; and 
the passenger who has a head steady enough to look down 
the precipice, may see the eyries of birds of prey beneath his 
feet. The path across it is so narrow, that it will not admit 
of two persons passing along-side; and indeed none but 
natives, accustomed to the scene from infancy, would attempt 
the dangerous route at all, though it saves a circuit of three 
miles. Yet it sometimes happens that two travelers meet in 
the middle, owing to the curve formed by the pass preventing 
a view across from either side; and when this is the case, one 
is obliged to lie down while the other crawls over his body. 

One day, shortly after the incident above mentioned, a 
highlander was walking fearlessly down the pass, sometimes 
bending over to watch the flight of the wild birds that built 
below, and sometimes detaching a fragment from the top, to 
see it dashed against the uneven sides, and bounding from 
rock to rock, its sound echoing the while like a human voice, 


and dying in faint and hollow murmurs at the bottom. When 
the highlander had gained the loftiest part of the arch, he 
observed another person coming leisurely from the opposite 
side, and being himself of the patrician order, called out to 
him to lie down; the individual, however, disregarded the 
command, and the highlanders met face to face on the sum- 
mit. They were Cairn and Bendearg; the two hereditary 
enemies, who would have gloried to have met in mortal strife 
on a hill side, turned deadly pale at this fatal recontre. 'I 
was first at the top,' said Bendearg, 'and called out first; lie 
down that I may pass over in peace.' 'When the Grant 
prostrates himself before M'Pherson,' answered the other, 
'it must be with a sword driven through his body.' 'Turn 
back then,' said Bendearg, 'and repass as you came.' 'Go 
back yourself if you like it, I will not be the first to turn be- 
fore a M'Pherson. ' This was their short conference, and the 
result exactly as each had anticipated. They then threw 
their bonnets over the precipice, and advanced with a slow 
and cautious pace toward each other; — they were both un- 
armed. Stretching their limbs like men preparing for a des- 
perate struggle, they planted their feet firmly on the ground, 
compressed their lips, knit their dark brows, and fixing fierce 
and watchful eyes on each other, stood there prepared for the 
onset. They both grappled at the same moment; but being 
of equal strength, were unable, for some time, to shift each 
other's position, — standing, as if fixed to the rock, with sup- 
pressed breath and muscles strained 'to the top of their bent,' 
like statutes carved out of the solid stone. At length 
M'Pherson suddenly removing his right foot, so as to give 
him greater purchase, stooped his body and bent his enemy 
with him by main strength, till they both leaned over the 
precipice, looking downward into the terrible abyss. The 
contest was as .yet doubtful, for Grant had placed his foot 
firmly on an elevation, at the brink, and had equal command 
of his enemy; but at this moment M'Pherson sunk slowly and 
firmly on his knee, and while Grant suddenly started back, 
stooping to take the supposed advantage, whirled him over 
his head into the gulf. M'Pherson himself fell backwards, 
his bodyjianging partly over the rock, — a fragment gave way 


beneath him, and he sank further, till catching with a desper- 
ate effort at the solid stone above, he regained his footing. 
There was a pause of deathlike stillness, and the bold heart 
of M'Pherson felt sick and faint. At length, as if compelled 
unwillingly by some mysterious feeling, he looked down over 
the precipice. Grant had caught with a deathlike grip by a 
rugged point of a rock — his enemy was yet almost within his 
reach! his face was turned upward, and there was in it terror 
and despair, but he uttered no word or cry. The next mo- 
ment he loosed his hold; and the next his brains were dashed 
out before the eyes of his hereditary foe; — the mangled body 
disappeared among the trees, and its last heavy and hollow 
sound arose from the bottom. 

M'Pherson returned home an altered man. He purchased 
a commission in the army, and fell bravely in the wars of the 
Peninsula. The Gaelic name of the place where this tragedy 
was acted signifies "Hell's Bridge." 





There is nothing that so much strengtheneth our faith and trust in God, 
that so much keepeth up innocency and pureness of heart, and also of out- 
ward godly life and conversation, as constant reading and recording of God's 
word. For that thing which is deeply printed and graven in the heart, at 
length turneth almost into nature. — Homily. 

If a man were asked why he believes in such and such a 
thing, he would very probably say, "Because the Bible teaches 
it." If he be asked why he believes in the Bible, or accepts 
it as truth, he will answer, "Because it says it is true " Now, 
that kind of reasoning may do in Christian society but we 
must not forget that it is altogether out of place in the com- 
pany of skeptics or followers of other religions than our own. 
For example, the Mahommedans believe in the Koran and 
make great claims for its divinity. They say it was uncreated, 
and that it lay before the throne of God from the beginning 
of time. They claim that it was put into the hands of the 
angel Gabriel, who brought it down to Mahomet, and dictated 
it to him and allowed him at long intervals to have a look at 
the original book itself — bound with silk and studded with 
precious stones. That is a much higher claim than we ask 
for our Bible, and if we have to rely upon the Bible because 
of its own claims for verity, for the same reason the Mahom- 
medan would have us believe in the Koran, and the Hindu in 
his Vedas. And, since there are millions of intelligent peo- 
ple believing implicitly in these two books, (to say nothing of 


other books similarly revered) for the truth of which they 
make much higher claims than we do for our book; and, as 
we know next to nothing of their books and little more of our 
own, as concerns its real claims and history, how very need- 
ful it is that we attend to this important study and be able to 
give a reason for the faith that is in us. 

We cannot at present consider the conflicting claims of 
men for the Bible, for some of this age, and Christian clergy- 
men too, label much of it "dream literature," "fiction," 
"fable" and "re-told tradition;" while men of similar profes- 
sion in ages past have claimed for it infallibility — without 
error in all its utterances. Here is one of such claims. Dean 
Burgon said, "It is in every book, chapter, verse, word, syl- 
lable and letter the direct utterance of the Most High." 

Now, the Bible does not claim for itself perfection, nor 
even accuracy in geology, astronomy or history. It was not writ- 
ten for either of these special purposes. The real purpose for 
which it was written, speaking now in a general sense and in 
the words of one of its authors, "for doctrine, for reproof, 
for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of 
God might be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
works. * * * They [the scriptures] are able to 

make you wise unto salvation through faith" (2 Tim. 3). 
The same author, speaking of theOld Testament, says: "They 
were written for our learning, that we through patience and 
comfort might have hope" (Rom. 15: 4). 

In this, its own sense, the Bible has in all ages been a 
teacher of high morals, reproving and correcting error and 
rebuking sin, instructing men in higher conceptions of right 
and duty, in short, its aim is and has ever been to perfect 
men in righteousness. The holy scriptures reflect to us the 
highest ideal of manhood, and in them we see the highest and 
truest exhibition of God through his Son — the Son being the 
interpretation to us of the Father. In this way the holy 
scriptures have linked themselves to the human race and its 
destiny. Thus the history of the influence of the Bible is the 
history of civilization and happiness. The one golden par- 
pose of the scriptures is to reveal to us "the only true God 
and Jesus Christ whom he has sent," and as means to this 


end, and in spirit, not detached words and sentences, its in- 
fallibility lies, and here it is absolute. Hence the Bible for 
this reason has the strongest claims upon our attentive and 
reverential regard. 

In considering this wonderful fabric of divine truth we 
are not to be mere spectators as we would if beholding the 
beauties of a landscape or the dying glory of a setting sun, to 
simply admire and exclaim ''How beautiful!" We must 
stand within and obey. We must open our souls to it as the 
flower does to the sun and receive therefrom strength, color, 
character and life. The homily says: "These books ought 
to be much in our hands, in our eyes, in our ears, in our 
mouths, but most of all in our hearts, for that thing which is 
deeply graven in the heart at length turneth almost into na- 
ture." We must enter into and unite ourselves with that 
which we would know, for Jesus said, "If any man will dohis 
will he shall know of the doctrine." 

Our readers must not confound this study of helps 
to the scriptures with the study of the scriptures themselves. 
This course of study will, we trust, lead some to a more con- 
sistent conception of what the Bible really is, and it may 
prove attractive and pleasing, but the great attraction is in 
the end. To cease with the study of how we got our Bible 
and what it is, without searching over its many pages and 
gathering for life-long use the gleaming gems of truth, would 
be like tunnelling, boring and blasting into the mountain's 
center and discovering the rich deposits of gold only to leave 
them there. Our true purpose in this study is to reach the 
"wells of salvation" and drink therefrom to thirst no more; 
to conceive and apply the message to us as it is given in the 
book of God, the "god of books." We live in thought, for 
thought is the father of action. If we think poorly we live 
poorly; if we think highly we live highly. Then from this 
book, which is the repository of the highest and purest 
thoughts, let us draw threads which we shall weave into our 
mental and spiritual garments. 

As a result of the customary reverence for the Bible and 
the remoteness of the happenings of the things recorded in it, 
we have grown to the idea that our religion came out of the 


Bible. Now that is not true. It is the reverse. The Bible 
came out of religion. The Bible was produced by religion, 
just as our late American war literature was produced by the 
great civil war in these United States. Religion did not 
come out of the scriptures any more than did last year's plant 
and flower growth come out of a scientific treatise on botany 
written the year before. Plants grew before men knew any- 
thing of the science of plant life. So did religion exist before 
men knew anything of the Bible, or, for that matter, books of 
any sort. The fact must always precede the record of it in 
regard to time. As a practical illustration of this fact take 
one of the letters or epistles of the Bible and see how it grew 
out of the circumstances of the time. The first epistle to the 
Thessalonians, for example: In the year 52 Paul went to a 
city called Thessalonica and created a great disturbance by 
preaching a strange doctrine there. He was smuggled out of 
the city by night, but before leaving he succeeded in estab- 
lishing a branch of the church. Finding it impossible to 
return to the place that he might teach and instruct the saints 
there in their duties, he wrote them a letter. That is how 
the first epistle to the Thessalonians came into existence. 

Toward the close of the first century John was persuaded 
by the Ephesian saints to write what he remembered of the 
Lord and his doings. In this way "the gospel according to 
St. John" came into existence. And thus we see how the 
scriptures arose out of the circumstances of the times and 
how human a book the Bible is, and how the divinity in it 
has worked through human hands. The Bible, then, came 
out of religion, not religion out of the Bible. 

Of course all understand that the Bible is not one book, 
the work of one author. It is a number of books written at 
different times and under different circumstances, but have 
been bound together in one volume for convenience. We 
now call it the Bible, which is a Greek term meaning origin- 
ally a collection of books. The changing of the word from 
the plural to the singular noun began perhaps in the thir- 
teenth century, and is decidedly fitter than otherwise in the 
high office as title of that which, by virtue of its unity and 
plan, is emphatically The Book. 



The use of the term "Bible" cannot be traced further 
back than the fifth century. Prior to that time the Christians 
referred to sacred writings as the scriptures; but the Old Tes- 
tament was called by the Jews, ' 'The Law, the Prophets and 
the Writings." Jesus, in speaking of the Old Testament in 
parts, named each thus: "The law of Moses, the prophets 
and the psalms" (Lev. 24:44; Jno. 10: 35; Matt. 11: 13, 22: 
40). "The Law" and "The Prophets" are each used by 
Christ, and sometimes unitedly as one common term to desig- 
nate the whole of the Old Testament. 

It is also called the Old and the New Testament or cov- 
enant, the term by which God was pleased to indicate the 
settled arrangement or relation between himself and his peo- 
ple. The term was first applied to the relation itself, as in 
Jeremiah, chapter 31: "I will make a new covenant with the 
house of Israel," etc., but afterwards it was applied to the 
books or record of that covenant. In Exodus the scriptures 
are referred to as "the book of the covenant." We call the 
sacred writings of the Jews the Old Testament to distinguish 
them from the books and letters containing the Christian his- 
tory and doctrines called the New Testament. This distinc- 
tion was first made by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the 

The holy scriptures were sometimes called the canon of 
scripture, from a Greek word signifying a straight rod and 
hence, in a figurative sense, a rule or law or guide. Paul said 
to the Galatians, "As many as walk according to this rule,' 
etc.; and to the Phillipians (3: 16), "Let us walk by the same 
rule.'" So that the canon of scripture may be generally des- 
cribed as "the collection of books which forms the original 
and authoritative written rule of the faith and practice of the 
Christian church. " But of all the titles "The word of God" is 
at once the most impressive and complete. We cannot in- 
vent a more simple or significant term, and it teaches us to 
regard the Bible as the utterances of divine wisdom and love. 



From Elder George W. Crockwell, laboring in Sioux 
City, Iowa, we recently received a letter in which occurs the 

"There are a great many Seventh-day Adventists in this city, and in 
talking on the gospel with them I have been unable to confute their argu- 
ments, to my satisfaction, against our worshiping on the first day of the week. 
In reading the scriptures I find only the following passages that in any way 
refer to the matter, and they are not conclusive: John 20:19-26; Acts 2:1; 
Acts 20:6, 7; I. Cor. 16:1,2; Rev. 1:10; Mark 2:27, 28; Luke 6:5; II. Cor. 
5:17; Eph. 2:15. Any information you may give me will be thankfully re- 
ceived; and allow me to suggest that a tract covering this question would 
undoubtedly be of materiil assistance to Elders laboring in sections of the 
country containing Adventists." 

Seventh-day Adventists constitute a religious sect whose 
chief characteristics are that they believe in the personal and 
glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; and that the holy 
day of worship appointed of God is the seventh day of the 
week instead of the first. Hence their name — Seventh-day 

Owing to the fact that modern Christians deny the con- 
tinuation of revelation after the days of the apostles, and as 
they cannot point to any direct revelation, or positive apos- 
tolic institution in the New Testament by which the first day 
of the week was substituted for the old Jewish Sabbath, the 
seventh day, which Jesus during his lifetime honored by observ- 
ing, the Adventists have other Christians at somewhat of a disad- 
vantage in this controversy. The Elders of the Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, need not be embar- 
rassed by the arguments of Adventists, since the church of 


Christ in this last dispensation has the warrant of God's word, 
by direct revelation, for keeping holy the Lord's day, that is, 
the first day of the week, as a day of public worship and 
thanksgiving, a holy Sabbath unto the Lord. It is not our 
intention, however, to avoid a discussion of the question by 
thus placing it on entirely new ground, and making the suc- 
cess of the issue depend upon one's ability to make it clear 
that God has given such a revelation, although that is a posi- 
tion that can be consistently taken by our Elders. But we de- 
sire to point out the evidence we have (i) from the New Tes- 
tament, and (2) from the practice of the early Christian 
church, for observing the first day of the week as a day of public 
worship, sanctified and set apart as the Lord's day By do- 
ing so we shall be able to show at least that there is a very 
strong probability that the change from the seventh to the 
first day of the week was made by the Lord Jesus Christ him- 
self, after his resurrection; that it was perpetuated by his 
apostles and the early Christian church; and then, in conclu- 
sion, shall cite the revelation referred to which, to the Latter- 
day Saints, changes this "probability" into fact and confirms 
with divine sanction our custom of worshiping on the first 
day of the week. By pursuing this course we shall draw the 
strong probability to be derived from the scriptures and the 
practice of the early church to the support of the revelation 
referred to, while the revelation, as already indicated, will 
transform the "probability" of the New Testament scriptures 
into positive fact. 

We begin with the arguments to be derived from the 
New Testament: 

It is related in John's gospel that on "the first day of the 
week," Mary Magdelene, early in the morning, met the Lord 
Jesus, after his resurrection, and conversed with him. This 
she told the disciples. "Then the same evening, being the 
first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the 
disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, 
and stood in their midst and saith unto them, Peace be unto 
you. * * * As my Father hath sent me, even so 

send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on 
them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose 


soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose 
soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:19-23). 

Thomas, of the Twelve, was not present at this meeting, 
nor would he believe the account delivered to him of it by his 
fellow apostles, but declared he must see the print of the 
nails in the Master's hands, and thrust his hands into his 
sides before he could believe. "And after eight days," which 
of course brings us to the first day of the week, "again his 
disciples were within and Thomas with them; then came 
Jesus, the door being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 
peace be unto you" (John 20: 26). He then dispelled the 
doubts of Thomas, and did many other things which are not 

Let this much be held in mind from the above: Jesus 
arose from the dead on the first day of the week and appeared 
to his disciples when they were assembled together. Then, 
"after eight days," which brings us again to the first day of 
the week, his disciples were again assembled, and he ap- 
peared unto them. We have no account of his appearing to 
any one in the interval, a significant fact; and one which 
makes it easy to believe that the second meeting on the first 
day of the week was appointed by the Lord himself, and 
since all that he did on this and other occasions was not 
written (John 20: 30 and Ch. 21: 25), it is not impossible, 
nor even improbable, that he then sanctified this day, and 
appointed it as a holy day, to be observed as sacred by his 
followers. This view is sustained by the continued practice 
of the apostles in meeting on the first day of the week. 

It is a significant fact that the day of Pentecost, upon 
which day the apostles received their spiritual endowment by 
the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, "that year fell on the first 
day of the week."* "And when the day of Pentecost was 
fully come, they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 
2:1.) They received the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and 
publicly preached the gospel and administered baptism. 
This assembling together on the first day of the week was 

*See Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Hackett & Abbot's edition, Vol. 
II- Art Lord's Day. p. 1677. Also Bramhall's works, Vol. V: p. 51, Oxford 
Ed., Discourse on the Sabbath and Lord's Day. 


doubtless in continuation of that new order of things with 
respect to the Sabbath which Jesus had ordained. 

Many years after Pentecost, in giving the account of 
Paul's journey from Philippi to Troas, the writer of the Acts 
of the Apostles says that the journey was accomplished in 
five days; and at Troas the apostolic party abode seven days: 
"and upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came 
together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to 
depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until mid- 
night" (Acts 20: 4-7). 

Again: Paul sends the following instructions to the 
Saints at Corinth — and it is to be seen from the passage 
itself that he had given the same instructions to the churches 
of Galatia: "Now, concerning the collection for the saints, 
as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do 
ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by 
him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no 
gatherings when I come" (I Cor. 16: 1, 2). 

These passages prove very clearly that the custom of 
meeting together for acts of public worship and the preach- 
ing of the gospel was firmly established in apostolic times, 
and since that is the case it doubtless was ordered by Mes- 
siah's own appointment. Surely the apostles would not pre- 
sume to establish such an order of things without divine 
sanction. Within the lifetime of the last of the apostles, too, 
this Christian Sabbath had received its name — "the Lord's 
Day." John's statement — "I was in the spirit on the Lord's 
Day, and heard behind me a great voice," etc., can have 
reference to no other thing than the fact that on the first day 
of the week which had come to be known by then as "the 
Lord's Day," John was in the spirit. "The general consent, 
both of Christian antiquity and modern divines, has referred 
it to be the weekly festival of our Lord's resurrection, and 
identified it with 'the first day of the week," on which he rose; 
with the patristical 'eighth day,' or day which is both the 
first and the eighth; in fact with the l So lis Dies' or 'Sunday,' 
of every age of the church."* 

Following is the argument of a very respectable authority 

•Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. II: p. 1676. 


upon these New Testament passages, and it seems to us decid- 
edly strong: "As the death of Christ made atonement for sin 
and symbolized the death of his church to the world, so did 
his resurrection mark the beginning of a new spiritual life, or, in 
the words of Paul, 'a new creation in Christ Jesus.' This 
new creation was the higher renewal of that first one which 
sin had marred; and therefore we find the disciples, from 
that very day, celebrating the first day of the week as the 
Christian Sabbath, the Lord's day, on which he met for wor- 
ship and fellowship. These assemblies began on that very 
evening when the risen Lord entered the chamber where the 
eleven apostles had met with doors shut for fear of the Jews, 
saluted them with the blessing of peace, showed them his 
wounded body, and ate bread with them; and then breathing 
his spirit upon them he repeated their commission, to preach 
the gospel to every creature, and to baptize all believers, 
conferred on them the power to work miracles, and gave 
them the authority of remitting and retaining sins. Such 
was the first meeting of the apostolic church on the first 
Lord's day. And after eight days again his disciples were 
within, the doors being shut as before, when Jesus stood 
again in their midst, with the salutation of 'peace,' and satis- 
fied the doubts of Thomas, with the tangible proof of his 

The same authority continues the argument in a foot 
note thus: 

"The meetings of the disciples on each eighth day have 
the more force as an argument from the very fact of their be- 
ing only incidentally recorded. The correspondence of the 
interval with the week, and the distinction of the day from 
the old Sabbath, are facts which admit of no other explana- 
tion; and all doubt is removed by Paul's plain allusion to the 
meetings of the disciples on the first day of the week, and by 
the testimony of heathen as well as Christian writers to the 
practice from the earliest age of the church. John, in men- 
tioning the day as a season of spiritual ecstacy, in which 
Christ appeared to him and showed him the worship of the 

•Students Eccl. Hist. (Philip Smith, B. A.) Vol. I. p. 21, 22. 


heavenly temple, expressly calls it by the name which it has 
always borne in the church, 'the Lord's Day.' "* 

These arguments may be further strengthened by the fol- 
lowing considerations: When the Jews were stickling for a 
very strict observance of the old Sabbath, Jesus with some 
spirit replied that "the Sabbath was made for man and not 
man for the Sabbath." And furthermore gave them to under- 
stand that "the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath" 
(Mark 2:27,28). It follows then that since Jesus is Lord of 
the Sabbath, it would clearly be within the province of his 
authority to change the old Mosaic institution of the Sabbath 
if he so elected. Paul in his day said: "If any man be in 
Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; be- 
hold all things have become new" (II Cor. 5:17). Again, in 
his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle represents Christ as 
"having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of 
commandments contained in ordinances." And again in his 
letter to the Colossians: "And you being dead in your sins 
and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened to- 
gether with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting 
out the hand writing of ordinances that war against us, which 
was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to 
the cross. * * * Let no man therefore judge 

you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of 
the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow 
of things to come" (Col. 2:13-17). 

From this it is clear that many things in the law of Moses 
being fulfilled in Christ were done away, or changed to con- 
form to the law of the gospel; and, to say the very least of 
the argument set forth up to this point, it is very probable 
that the Sabbath was among those things so changed. 

Turn we now to the argument to be derived from the 
custom of the primitive church: 

Next to the New Testament writers Clement of Rome, a 
companion of the apostles, is most relied upon as stating cor- 
rectly early Christian practices, and in his epistle to the 
Corinthians, speaking of things commanded of Christ, he 
says: "Now the offerings and ministrations he commanded 

*The Student's Eccl. Hist. Vol. I, p. 22, Note. 


to be performed with care, and not to be done rashly or in 
disorder, but at fixed times and seasons. And when and by 
whom he would have them performed he himself fixed by his 
supreme will: that all things being done with piety according 
to his pleasure might be acceptable to his will. They there- 
fore that make their offerings at the appointed seasons are 
acceptable and blessed; for while they follow the instructions 
of the Master they can not go wrong."* From this it appears 
that Jesus himself did fix set "times and seasons" iox "offer- 
ings and ministrations," as well also by "whom" as "when" 
they should be performed, and that, too, according to "his 
supreme will." This represents the Lord as having arranged 
matters in the church — including "times and seasons" for 
"offerings and ministrations" — more definitely than any of 
the New Testament writers credit him with doing. Is it un- 
reasonable to think that among these was the transition from 
the Jewish Sabbath to the Lord's day? 

In the Epistle of Barnabas, written in the early part of 
the second century, it is said by that writer, speaking of the 
Christian custom as pertaining to the Sabbath: "We keep 
the eighth day unto gladness, in the which Jesus also rose 
from the dead, and after that he had been manifested, as- 
cended into the heaven." (Epist. Barnabas, Ch. 15). 

The younger Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, in 
describing the custom of the Christians to his friend, Trajan, 
the Roman emperor, says: "They were accustomed on a 
stated day to meet before daylight, and repeat among them- 
selves a hymn to Christ as to a God, and to bind themselves 
by an oath with an obligation of not committing any wicked- 
ness; * * * * after which it was their custom to separ- 
ate and to meet again at a promiscuous, harmless meal [the 
Sacrament?] from which last practice they desisted, after the 
publication of my edict, "f 

It is only claimed for this passage that it proves that the 
Christians had a stated day on which they met for the worship 

*Clement's Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 40. We use Rev. Geo. A. 
Jackson's translation of the passage. 

fPliny's letter ;to Trajan and the emperor's reply will be found in full 
in Roberts* "New Witness for God," pp. 54-57- 


of God, and the renewal of religious covenants; and doubt- 
less that stated day was the eighth day of the week men- 
tioned by Barnabas, and which corresponds with the "first 
day" of the week, mentioned by the New Testament writers. 

Justin Martyr, one of the most learned and highly es- 
teemed of the apostolic fathers, is very clear upon this subject. 
He says, writing in the first half of the second century, al- 
most within shouting distance of the inspired apostles — "In 
all our obligations we bless the Maker of all things, through 
his son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost, and on 
the day which is called Sunday, there is an assembly in the 
same place of all who live in cities or in country districts; and 
the records of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets, 
are read as long as we hath time. Then the reader con- 
cludes, and the president verbally instructs and exhorts us to 
the imitation of those excellent things. Then we all rise to- 
gether and offer up our prayers. And, as I said before, when 
we have concluded our prayer, bread is brought and wine and 
water, and the president in like manner offers up prayers and 
thanksgiving with all his strength, and the people give their 
assent by saying, amen. * * * But Sunday is 

the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because 
it is the first day on which God when he changed the dark- 
ness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior 
on the same day rose from the dead: for the day before that 
of Saturn he was crucified, and on the day after it, which is 
Sunday, he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught 
them these things which we have given to you also for your 
consideration" (I. Apology, Ch. 67.) 

We have not the space to further examine the testimony 
of the fathers, nor is it necessary. Sufficient has been quoted 
to show that in that age immediately succeeding the apostles, 
the practice, which seems to have begun even under the 
immediate supervision of the Lord himself, was firmly estab- 
lished in the early church. The learned writer in Smith's 
Dictionary of the Bible, Rev. James Augustus Hessey, who 
there treats this subject, says: "The result of our examination 
of the principal writers of the two centuries after the death of 
St. John are as follows: The Lord's day (a name which has 


now came out more prominently, and is connected more ex- 
plicitly with our Lord's resurrection than before) existed 
during these two centuries as part and parcel of apostolical, 
and so of scriptural Christianity. * * * Our de- 

sign does not necessarily lead us to do more than to state 
facts; but if the facts be allowed to speak for themselves, they 
indicate that the Lord's day is a purely Christian institution, 
sanctioned by apostolic practice, mentioned in apostolic writ- 
ings, and so possessed of whatever divine authority all apos- 
tolic ordinances and doctrines (which are not obviously tem- 
porary, or were not abrogated by the apostles themselves) can 
be supposed to possess" (Vol. II. p. 1679.) 

Yet after all this is admitted, and the strength of the 
argument is very great in our judgment, it must still be con- 
fessed that it falls somewhat short of being absolutely con- 
clusive. It cannot be made out clearly and positively that 
Jesus or the apostles by direct, official action authorized the 
observance of the first day of the week as a day of public 
worship, dedicated to the service of God, and designed to 
take the place of the Jewish Sabbath. The most that can be 
claimed for the evidence here adduced — and it is the strong- 
est if not all that can be marshalled in support of the propo- 
sition — is that it is probable that such a change was instituted. 
Rev. Baden Powel, professor of geometry at Oxford Uni- 
versity, states the case as it stands most truly. He says: 
''To those Christians who look to the written word as the 
sole authority for anything claiming apostolic or divine sane 
tion, it becomes peculiarly important to observe that the 
New Testament evidence of the observance of the Lord's 
day amounts merely to the recorded fact that the disciples 
did assemble on the first day of the week, and the probable 
application of the designation of the Lord's day to that 

That Catholics regard what is written in the New Testa- 
ment as insufficient to justify them in the observance of the 
first day of the week instead of the seventh is evident from 
the fact that they appeal to the tradition of the church as the 
unwritten word of God in justification of their practice, and 

*Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature. Art. Lord's Day. 


upbraid Protestants for their rejection of the authority of tra- 
dition, which alone, in their view, justifies the change from 
the seventh to the first. The author of the Catholic work, 
"End of Religious Controversy," after citing the scripture 
commanding the observance of the seventh day as the Sab- 
bath, then says: "Yet with all this weight of scripture au- 
thority for keeping the Sabbath or seventh day holy, Protes- 
tants of all denominations make this a profane day, and 
transfer the obligation of it to the first day of the week, or 
Sunday. Now what authority have they for doing this? 
None whatever, except the unwritten word, or tradition of 
the Catholic Church; which declares that the apostles made 
the change in honor of Christ's resurrection and the descent 
of the Holy Ghost on that day of the week" (End of Reli- 
gious Controversy, letter n). 

It is this element of uncertainty in the evidence, and the 
consequent inconclusiveness in the argument that those who 
contend for the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord take 
advantage of; but, as stated in the beginning, the Latter- 
day Saints need not share the embarrassment that other 
Christians generally feel over the question, for the Lord has 
set the matter at rest by a revelation in these last days to his 
church. In a revelation to his servant Joseph Smith, given 
in August, 1831, he said: "Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the 
Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart 
and a contrite spirit. And that thou mayest more fully 
keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the 
house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy 
day; for verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your 
labors and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High. Never- 
theless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all 
days and at all times; but remember that on this the Lord's 
day thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto 
the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren and 
unto the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other 
thing only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart 
that thy fasting may be perfect, or in other words that thy joy 
may be full" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 59:8-13). 

And thus the matter is set at rest. The observance of 


the "Lord's day" as a day sacred to the worship of Almighty 
God, so far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned, does not 
rest upon the "probability" that it was of divine or apostolic 
institution, as is the case with Protestant Christendom; nor 
does it rest upon the "tradition" of the church that it was of 
apostolic institution, as is the case with the Catholic Church; 
but the observance of that day comes to the church of Christ 
by direct appointment of the Lord by revelation to the head 
of the church in this dispensation; and that revelation trans- 
forms the "probability," that the first day of the week was 
substituted for the old Jewish Sabbath, into a certainty. 

In conclusion let us ask our young Latter-day Saints to 
observe with what solemnity God hath dedicated this day, 
and set it apart for the worship of the Lord; and how strictly 
he hath prohibited other occupation than this on that day; 
and so much as our "certainty" outstrips the "probability" 
of other Christians that the "Lord's day" is the proper day 
for public worship, so let our strict observance of it outstrip 


Where are now the dreaming flowers, 
Which of old were wont to lie, 
Looking upwards at the hours 
In the pale blue sky? 

Where's the once red regal rose? 
And the lily, love-enchanted? 
And the pansies, which arose 

Like a thought earth-planted? 

Some are wither'd — some are dead — 
Others now have no perfume; 
This doth hang its sullen head, 
That hath lost its bloom. 

Passions, such as nourish strife 
In our blood, and quick decay, 
Hang upon the flower's life, 
Till it fades away. 




Religion in Japan: Bishop McKin, the Episcopal pre- 
late of Tokio, recently stated that out of a total of 150,000 con- 
verts in Japan, the Roman Catholics are first with about 50,- 
000, and the Greek Catholics second with 23,000. The Epis- 
copalians number in the neighborhood of 10,000. He says 
that in the matter of church government, ritual and theology, 
the Episcopal and Greek Catholic churches in Japan are closer 
than any other religious bodies, and intimates that the two 
bodies may soon be united. 

Annexation of Hawaii: The Hon. John R. Proctor 
takes a hopeful view of the proposed acquisition of Hawaii by 
the United States. In his opinion annexation is urgently 
demanded by our own interests, as well as by considerations of 
national honor involved in the continuation of the protecto- 
rate maintained in the islands by this government for more 
than fifty years. — The Forum. 

Sects in England: Mr. Howard Evans demolishes the 
absurd fallacy (due to Whitaker) as to the existence of hun- 
dreds of sects in England. Practically there are not more 
than twenty. Of these ten evangelical Protestant denomina- 
tions provide 7,600,000 sittings, while the Established Church 
only seats 6,778,000. The clergy of the Establishment of all 
sorts number 20,495. — Contemporary Review. 

Moving the Great Grain Crops: The wheat crop of 
the United States for this year of 1897 is estimated at 500,000,- 
000 bushels, one of the largest crops on record, and fortun- 
ately for the farmers the European demand has raised the 
price, and is sending the golden grain eastward at an unpre- 
cedented rate. Over 200,000,000 bushels will be demanded 
by the Old World, and the shipment of this enormous bulk is 
taxing the capacity of the railroads and grain-carrying vessels 
on the lakes, of canal-boats and ocean steamers, to the fullest 
extent. — Harper's Weekly. 




With this initial number the Improvement Era starts hopefully out 
upon its mission. As the accepted organ of the Young Men's Mutual 
Improvement Associations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints, we sincerely hope its merits will fully satisfy the best and truest 
expectations awakened by the announcement and promise of its advent. 
Its real merits will become known and therefore, we trust, sincerely appre- 
ciated. In proportion to its being sought for and carefully read by its 
patrons, the benefits resulting from its publication will bring joy and satisfac- 
tion to the hearts and homes of many thousands of earnest, truth-loving and 
progressive people. 

It is fair to presume that all true members of the church are earnest, 
truth-loving and progressive. It is not fair to presume that such as are 
really worthy to be called Latter-day Saints could be other than earnest, 
truth-loving and progressive people, possessing as they must a living faith 
in God and in his promises to them, and relying confidently upon his 
revealed truth, which is his word, as sincerely honest souls only can do; it 
is fair, as we have said, to presume that all true members of the church are 
worthy to be called Latter-day Saints, and that as such they must feel a 
lively interest in the welfare of mankind in general, and ah earnest desire 
for the salvation of their posterity in particular. They will, therefore, hail 
with pleasure the advent of the Era as an organ devoted to the uplifting of 
the youth of Zion, and therefore an aid to themselves in their efforts to 
educate and rear their children to walk in righteous and honorable paths. 

The mission of the Era, however, is not to be confined to the limits of 
those only who are enlightened by a knowledge of the truth and who already 
possess the love of God in their hearts. It is also intended to reach the 
thoughtless and wayward, those who are prone to evil, and all, wheresoever 
they are found, who possibly may or can be reached and convinced by the 
potency of its reasoning, the clearness of its facts, and the witness of its 
spirit, together with the Father's blessing, and thereby be brought out of 


darkness and the shadows of the valley of death into the marvelous light 
and liberty of divine truth. 

We hope and intend that the Era shall become a ready, steadfast 
helper to parents in their worthy efforts to cultivate within themselves the 
divine attributes and higher qualities of their nature, so necessary to the wise 
and proper exercise of parental authority in governing the home; and also 
become a powerful aid to them in the judicious guidance of their children, 
in whom should be developed the noblest traits of character, the highest 
virtues and the purest intelligence. 

We sincerely hope that presidents and bishops, and officers of the 
church in general, will find in it helpful encouragement in the consistent per- 
formance of their various official functions. That the people over whom 
they preside and the quorums which they direct may yield more intelligent and 
ready obedience to their divinely inspired counsels and admonitions; that 
better government, greater union, and a higher standard of morality and 
intelligence may be reached and prevail, and more rapid and permanent 
progress be attained both by priest and people in the great cause of salva- 

It is hoped, too, that the Era will also find its way into the various 
missionary fields abroad, as well as at home, and be an aid to the Elders of the 
church in their advocacy and defense of the principles of the gospel, that 
inquirers after the existence on earth of a living church may be led to learn 
the truth and come into the possession of a divinely revealed and effective 
religion, the acceptance and practice of which will save them from sin, exalt 
them to the highest standard of manhood in time and to the perfection of 
godliness in eternity. 

Such are a very few of the aims and purposes of the Improvement Era. 
It is not destined to conflict with any existing organ or agency already esta- 
blished in the church for the promotion of the glorious cause of Zion. Nor 
is it intended that it shall intrench upon the field or sphere of usefulness 
of any such organ or agency. We believe there is a field spread out before 
us large enough for all. That the field is great and white and ready for the 
harvest, and that the laborers are comparatively few. Let all who will 
thrust in their sickles and reap. We do not propose war, but peace on earth 
and good will to men. We aim not at contention, but to defend the cause 
of truth. We respectfully ask to be heard, and intend, so far as we can, to 
occupy a position worthy of the respect and confidence of all who love God 
and his righteous cause. With such purposes in view we confidently look for 
the favor and approval of all right thinking and truth-loving people, and 
especially for the co-operation of the young men of Zion, in whose interest 
and cause we launch our barque upon the broad sea of Mutual Improve- 

May God's blessing attend our efforts and rest upon all those who take 
part in and encourage the promotion of this enterprise, and all others hav- 
ing for their object the enlightenment of our race and the salvation of souls. 



In nearly every constitution of the respective states of the Ameri- 
can union it is written: "Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is 
essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free gov- 
ernment." This rather stilted phraseology means that the legislator, in the 
course of the enactment of laws, shall have in mind the fundamental prin- 
ciples of government upon which the state is founded, and enact his legisla- 
tion in harmony with those principles: that the judiciary in the interpreta- 
tion of the laws shall have due regard for those same principles and 
interpret the laws in harmony therewith; that the executive in the admini- 
stration of the laws shall enforce them in a manner consistent with those 
principles. And by his frequent recurrence to fundamental principles it is 
hoped that constitutional law will be respected and the end of government, 
the liberty, the security, and the happiness of the people, attained. 

This frequent recurrence to fundamental principles holds equally good 
in other spheres than that of government. Indeed it holds good in every 
sphere of human activity. In nearly all those activities men have some 
distinct object in view; and the application of the principle merely means 
that men take into account their present actions to ascertain if those actions 
give promise of achieving the object they have set before them. 

This doctrine so generally true in human activities is especially true in 
relation to Mutual Improvement. It is essentially necessary that the young 
men of our associations keep constantly before them the object to be 
achieved through the means of our improvement organization. And what 
that object is, what the keynote of this whole movement within the church 
is intended to accomplish, is admirably set forth by the founder of the soci- 
eties, President Brigham Young, who, when giving instructions to the young 
men whom he appointed in 1875 to inaugurate the work, gave as its keynote 
the following: 

"Mutual improvement of the youth; establishment of individual tes- 
timony of the truth and magnitude of the great latter-day work; the 
development of the gifts within them, that have been bestowed upon them 
by the laying on of the hands of the servants of God; cultivating a 
knowledge and an applicatio?i of the eternal principles of the great 
science of life." 

Then a little later, after some progress had been made in the work: 

' 'It is our desire that these institutions should flourish, that our 
young men may grow in a comprehension of and faith in the holy prin- 
ciples of the gospel of eternal salvation; and furthermore have an op- 
portunity to and be encouraged in bearing testimony to and speaking of 
the truths of our holy religion. Let the consideration of these truths 
and principles be the groundwork and leading idea of every such asso- 
ciation; and on this foundation of faith in God's great latter-day work, 
let their members build all useful knowledge, by which they may be use- 
ful in the establishment of liis kingdom. Each member will find that 



happiness in this world mainly defends on the work he does and the 
■way in which he does it." 

This, better than anything else that has ever been said, so far as we 
know, sounds the keynote of Mutual Improvement. These remarks point 
out the objects to be achieved by our associations. They correspond to the 
fundamental principles on which government is based, a frequent recur- 
rence to which is declared to be essential to the maintenance of liberty. So 
a frequent recurrence to these main purposes for which Mutual Improve- 
ment Associations were established is essential to the accomplishment of 
those purposes; and for that reason we recur to them here in the hope that 
the minds of both officers and members of the associations may be refreshed, 
and that that class of work ma)' be undertaken that shall have reference to 
the attainment of these high aims. 

It is to be observed that the primary object of our Improvement work, 
as set forth by President Brigham Young, involves the establishment of 
faith in God in the hearts of our young men. Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith 
in the gospel of Jesus Christ as the power of God unto salvation. And after 
that faith in God's great latter-day work. Faith in the dispensation of the 
fulness of times, which means faith in the great truth that God has again 
opened the heavens and renewed his revelations to man; that he called 
Joseph Smith to be the prophet, seer and revelator of this great and last 
dispensation; that through him he gave to the world the Book of Mormon, 
a new volume of scripture and a new witness for God; that divine authority 
was bestowed upon Joseph Smith the prophet, by the power of which he 
established the church of Christ on earth. Faith in God's great latter-day 
work means faith in the gathering together of all the tribes of Israel; the 
re-establishment of Jerusalem; the founding of Zion. It means faith in the 
speedy coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven with power 
and great glory to reign on the earth; faith in the resurrection of the dead, 
and that the time of the first or the resurrection of the righteous is near at 
hand — this is what faith in God's great latter-day work means; and it is the 
establishment of this faith in the hearts of our youth that we especially de- 
sire to see the associations working at and accomplishing. 

* * 

We are to attempt in part the achievement of the purpose of our asso- 
ciations during the present season of 1897-8, by the study of the life and 
character and the doctrine of Jesus Christ. In this, it seems to us, we are 
aiming directly at the object for which our associations were called 
into existence, viz: the establishment of faith in God. Paul asks the ques- 
tion: "How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard?" 
Implying thereby, and that very reasonably, that they cannot have faith in 
God if they have not heard of him. And we hold that this "hearing" some- 
thing about God, which the great apostle of the Gentiles considered essen- 
tial to faith, involves hearing not only of his existence, but learning some- 
thing of his character and his attributes. For it is true that we cannot have 
faith in God that includes hope and trust and love, unless we know some- 
thing of him. Therefore we must have some knowledge of God before we 


can have perfect faith in him. And that knowledge we can obtain through 
becoming acquainted with Jesus Christ; for he is God, that is, God the Son; 
and he is, moreover, the express image and likeness of God the Father, 
through whom the Father shone, "For," as it is written, "it pleased the 
Father that in him should all fulness dwell."* And again: "For in him 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. "f "Who is the image of 
the invisible God, the first born of every creature.":): "Who being the 
brightness of his [the Father's] glory, and the express image of his person, 
and upholding all things by the word of his power. "§ "He that seeth me," 
said Jesus, "seeth him that sent me."|| "Philip saith unto him, Lord, show 
us the Father, and it sumceth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so 
long with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen 
me hath seen the Father."^ All of which plainly means that Jesus was like 
his Father in his person and in the attributes of his soul. As the Son is, so 
men will find the Father to be; their oneness is complete, and by becoming 
acquainted with the Son men shall learn to love and honor the Father. 

In view of all this, the General Superin tendency concluded that the best 
way to establish faith in God in the hearts of members of the Young Men's 
Associations — and thus make our present efforts contribute to the achieve- 
ment of the end of Mutual Improvement — was to arrange a course of exer- 
cises that would teach them something of God; and as Jesus Christ was God 
manifested in the flesh,** beyond question the best way to learn the charac- 
ter and attributes of Deity is to study the life and character of Jesus Christ, 
and hence our course of study as outlined in the Young Men's Manual for 
the year 1897-8. 


The Improvement Era is the organ of the Young Men's Improvement 
Associations. It is not the personal property of any man nor company of 
men. It is published under the direction of the general board of the young 
men's associations, it is true, but they do not own it. It belongs to the 
young men of the improvement associations alone. If it succeeds financially, 
as we now have every reason to be confident it will, the benefits must go to 
the building up and making more efficient the work of Mutual Improvement. 
There is no other purpose to which any profits that may arise from our 
publication can be applied. It is thoroughly identified with the work of the 
associations. The Era is theirs; and their interests, welfare and progress 
are the Era's first concern. It is the young men's magazine, not only 
because it is owned by the Young Men's Associations, but also for the reason 
that it is designed to supply their necessities for a class of literature adapted 
to the peculiar station they occupy by reason of their acceptance of the new 
dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, revealed to the world by the 
prophet Joseph Smith. It is intended also that it shall both assist in awak- 

*Coloss. 1: 19. fColoss. 2: 9. JColoss. 1: 15. §Heb. 1: 3. 
||John 12: 45. ^St. John 14: 8-9. **I Tim. 13: 16. 


ening the loftiest aspirations within them and point the way in which they 

may be satisfied. This is the Era's high purpose. This its high station; 

and it will be the ambition of its publishers to make it worthy of its place 

and mission. 

# # 

In view of these facts concerning the Era the presidents of ward asso- 
ciations have been called upon by the general board to act as the Era's 
local agents, and the superintendents of stakes to act as supervisory agents, 
and that without compensation for their services. The general board had 
no capital with which to start the publication of the Era, except their con- 
fidence in the loyalty and unselfish devotion of the young men of the Church 
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the cause of Mutual Improvement. 
This is the only capital we have, but we are confident it will be sufficient. 
We know in whom we have trusted. And we appeal to them to sustain that 
high opinion which the servants of God who stand at the head of this great 
movement within the church of Christ have of them. It is expected that 
these agents will be prompt in looking after the interests of the Era in their 
respective wards. They have been furnished with receipt blanks, and as 
the magazine will be sent only to those zuho £ay for it in adva?ice, the 
transaction of the business will be very simple. It will consist merely in 
taking the subscription price, two dollars, giving a receipt for the same and 
sending the name and address of the subscriber, with the money, to the Era 
office, Templeton Block, Salt Lake City. There will be no complicated ac- 
counts to keep, as we have resolved upon payment in advance and send- 
ing the magazine only to those who pay for it, being the invariable rule, 
and this will simplify all our transations. 

It is for our agents thus called into service in the interests of the Era 
to be active and earnest in their efforts to secure subscribers. It is ex- 
pected that stake superintendents when visiting the associations of their 
respective stakes will enquire into the work being done for the Era, and 
where there is any lack of interest or of promptness in attending to its 
affairs they will give such counsel and instruction as the circum- 
stances may warrant; and in this matter presidents of associations must 
know that the stake superintendents represent the general board. 

Not only should presidents of associations be active in securing sub- 
scriptions, but all the officers of each association should take an interest in 
obtaining as large a list of subscribers as can be secured. We call upon all 
the young men of our associations to be friends and supporters of this maga- 
zine, confident that in urging them to do so we but enlist them in a work 
which is their own and of which they may well be proud, and that in turn 
it will benefit and bless them and the community in which they live. But 
it will be understood that the president of each association in the respective 
wards and settlements in Zion is our authorized agent to receive subscrip- 
tions and to attend to whatever business may arise in connection with the 
magazine, and to them our patrons are recommended. 



The month of November is the one in which the friends of the Era 
must be active in rolling up a good subscription list for the magazine. All 
things considered, November is the month when the people of this inter- 
mountain region have in hand the most money, and our young men cannot 
do better than to devote a portion of the means secured by the year's toil to 
obtain intellectual food for the season of leisure that comes to them with our 
long evenings in winter. And since the Era is a publication intended to be 
especially suited to the young men of the Church of Jesus Christ, our 
friends will be doing their associates a favor by calling their attention to 
the Era and urging them to subscribe for it. 

Moreover, this month the officers and members of the Improvement 
Associations will have the Era in hand, so that they can present the first 
number to those whose subscriptions they solicit. The Era is no longer a 
prospect, it is here. This number is a prophecy of future numbers. There 
will be improvements made from time to time, and new departments opened, 
doubtless, but the general character of this present volume is foreshadowed 
in this initial number. We ask our friends to do all that is possible for 
them to do to make the Era a success; and in doing that they will be help- 
ing the great cause of Mutual Improvement. 



The general conference of Mutual Improvement Associations held in 
Salt Lake City on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of July of the present year ush- 
ered in a period of great activity in Improvement work that is resulting in 
great good to the cause. The work since then has taken on new life through- 
out the church; and, what is best of all, the new life shows no sign of being 
a Jonah's gourd that sprang up in a night only to perish in a night. It is 
our hope that the new life will give steady growth to the associations and 
that there will be no lapse of interest on the part of either officers or mem- 
bers. We want no nickering flame of enthusiasm that suddenly flares up, 
emits unsteady light, then subsides and finally dies out like the varying 
flame of a farthing candle. On the contrary the General Superintendency 
want an enthusiasm awakened in every association that shall resemble in its 
constancy the steadiness of the sun's brightness, that from year to year 
holds on undimmed by time. That our present revival is but the inaugura- 
tion of a long period of steady growth in the associations we have every 
reason to believe. It is not a sudden burst of interest. The forces which 
brought it to pass have been operating for some time. The General Super- 
intendency and Board of Aids have been holding frequent meetings for more 
than a year past; and for several months preceding the conference their 
meetings, as now, were held weekly. In those meetings the General Super- 
intendency and their aids discussed the affairs that concern Mutual Im- 


provement, with the result that they had a number of well thought out plans 
to present to the conference that could not fail to affect the cause of Im- 
provement to its advantage. 


* * 

Among these plans was, first, the course of twenty-two lessons on the 
life of Jesus, outlined and presented in the M. I. A. Manual for 1897-8, as 
the course of study for the associations during the present season's work. 

Second, a plan of general missionary work to be undertaken throughout 
the associations, by which it is hoped that young men now only nominally 
members of the associations may be made active, earnest members; and the 
large number of young men in Zion not yet identified with Mutual Improve- 
ment, nor converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, may be brought into the 
associations and converted to the truth of God's great latter-day work. 

Third, the publication of an organ for the associations which would be 
a means of communication between the general officers and the societies, and 
at the same time place in the hands of the young men literature that from 
its nature would contribute to the accomplishment of those ends which 
Mutual Improvement has in view, namely, the moral and spiritual uplifting 
of our youth. 

The adoption of these three things, together with the reaffirmation of 
the necessity and adoption of a plan for the collection of the Improvement 
Fund; the arrangement for uniformity of organization in both stakes and 
wards; urging the necessity of frequent council meetings by both stake 
and ward officers; the conclusions reached as to the tenure of office by stake 
superintendents and association presidents — all these things that were con- 
sidered and acted upon by the conference, at once establish both its import- 
ance and the fact that it was a working conference. 


* # 

The general conference was held on the 17th, 18th and 19th of July; 
heretofore it has been held early in June and always so arranged as to in- 
clude as one of its days the first day of June, the anniversary of the late 
President Brigham Young's birthday. The question has been asked if it is 
intended hereafter to abandon the first day of June as the date of the gen- 
eral M. I. A. Conference. We answer no. The reason for the change this 
year is that it was thought more of our young men from distant stakes of 
Zion would be able to attend the conference if held about the time of the 
celebration of the Pioneer Jubilee, and as that jubilee marked an important 
event in the career of the great prophet who was the founder of Mutual Im- 
provement Associations, it was thought not inappropriate this year to make 
the postponement of the conference from June to July. But it is the inten- 
tion of the General Superintendency that the general annual conference 
shall be held on the first of June, as they desire to hold in honorable and 
grateful remembrance the founder of these institutions by meeting on the 
anniversary of his birth; and also for the reason that the first of June is as 
convenient a month in which to hold the general conference as any other of 
the twelve. 



At a conference held in Afton, Star Valley Stake, Wyoming, August 
16th, the stake superintendency was reorganized owing to Brother Charles 
Kingston, the former superintendent, removing to Evanston to live, where 
it would be impossible for him to discharge the duties of his office. Orlando 
Barrus was selected and sustained as the new superintendent. He chose for 
counselors Daniel T. Wood and Orson M. Porter. These brethren had been 
counselors to Brother Kingston, the former superintendent. 

At the Salt Lake Stake Conference, held on the nth and 12th of Sep- 
tember, Joseph H. Felt was honorably released from the position of stake 
superintendent of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations, a 
position he had occupied for nineteen years. President Angus M. Cannon 
expressed himself as satisfied with the labors of Brother Felt, but stated 
that it was thought a change might increase the interest in the work, and 
therefore a change had been decided upon. The conference by unanimous 
vote expressed its appreciation of Elder Felt's past faithful services. On 
Sunday, the 12th, Elder Richard R. Lyman was chosen by the Salt Lake 
Stake Presidency and high council and sustained by the conference. Sub- 
sequently Brother Lyman chose as his counselors Joseph F. Merrill and 

Heber C. Iverson. 


Mathonihah Thomas, of Farmington, was chosen superintendent of the 
Mutual Improvement Associations of the Davis Stake at the quarterly con- 
ference of that stake, held the nth and 12th of September. Brother 
Thomas chose Elder William O. Lee, of West Bountiful, and David Hess, of 
Farmington, for counselors. The reorganization was made necessary on ac- 
count of the absence of Elder Henry Wilcox, the former superintendent, 
on a mission in the eastern states. 

At a conference of the Young Men's Associations held at Brigham City, 
Box Elder County, Superintendent Charles Kelley was honorably released 
from his position, and a vote of thanks tendered him for his past services. 
Brother Kelley has been superintendent of the associations in Box Elder 
for nineteen years; but he is a counselor in the presidency of that stake and 
it was thought proper that he should be released from being superintendent 
of the Young Men's Associations on that account, that some one else might 
be chosen who could devote more time to the work than Brother Kelley 
could possibly give to it under the circumstances. Elder Oleen N. Stahl 
was chosen to be the new superintendent and he selected for his counselors 
Brigham Wright and Fred J. Holton. 

The Improvement Fund.— By reference to the minutes of the last an- 
nual conference, held in July, it will be seen that by a resolution unani- 


mously adopted the conference renewed its acceptance and endorsement of 
the "Fifty Cent Fund," hereafter to be called the "Improvement Fund;" 
that is, the donation of fifty cents per annum by each member for the pur- 
pose of meeting the necessary expenses of Mutual Improvement work. That 
ten per cent of the amount collected be deducted by the local associations 
for expenses, and fifteen per cent be deducted by the stake superintenden- 
cies for their expenses; and that the third week in November of each year 
be set apart and known as "collection week" for the fund, and that after the 
collections are in and the deductions made as aforesaid, the balance be for- 
warded to the treasurer of the general organization, Wm. S. Burton, not 
later than the first day of January succeeding collection week. 

The attention of presidents *nd treasurers of associations is called to 
this action of the general conference that they may be reminded that its de- 
cision is binding upon all the associations, and that all officers may seek 
diligently to carry it into effect. It is expected that all officers of associa- 
tions will in this, as in every other good work, set the example by being the 
first to pay the amount decided upon, fifty cents per year, and then call 
upon all the members to do the same. Collection week begins on the four- 
teenth of November and ends on the twentieth, and a strong effort should 
be made to collect this fund at the appointed time, and then let the subject 
be dismissed for a year. It should not be allowed to drag through the meet- 
ings of the entire season's work. Let the presidents of associations be in 
earnest in looking after this fund and they will be successful in collecting it. 

The fifty cents per annum required of members of the associations is 
not to be regarded as an initiation fee, but a free-will offering to the cause 
of Mutual Improvement. We desire to see the doors of the associations 
remain as they are, open to all young men who desire to enter; but the work 
has now arrived at that point in its progress where it requires this means to 
carry out its purposes, and our brethren interested in its growth and success 
should be 'willing, and we believe they are willing, to give their material 
support to the cause. Presidents, see to it that every member of your asso- 
ciations, during collection week, has the opportunity to give his fifty cents 
to this Improvement Fund. Appeal to the business and manly sense of our 
young brethren who make up the membership of our associations, and we 
feel sure they will respond cheerfully to this necessary call made upon them. 

Errata. — We desire to make the following corrections in Lesson I of 
the Manual: 

Size 140x40 (not 170, according to good authority). 

Under mouyitains "Hebron" should read "Hermon." 

Political Divisions and Cities under Judea, "Emmaus" should be 

Improvement Era, 

The New Organ of the 


$200 Per Annum, 
In Adv/eince.. 

JOSEPH F. SMITH, ) „ ,. ' 
B. H. ROBERTS, j Jia " ors ' 

HEBER J. GRANT, ) „ . .- 

THOMAS HULL, f Business Managers. 

Every officer and member of Young 
Men's Mutual Improvement Associations and 
every one interested in the progress of the 
associations should subscribe. 

Send subscriptions to 


Asst. Business Manager, 



X* c m. i. 


GEO. 0.. CAMION, Vice-President. 
TBOS. G. WEBBER, Secretary. 
A. W. CARLSON, Treasurer. 




Jos. F. Smith, P. T. Farnsworth, 
H.J Grant, J. R. Barnes, 
G. Romney, John Henry Smith, 
J. R. Winder, F. M. Lyman, 
H. Dinwoodey, Anthon H, Land, 
Wm. H. Molntyre. 

Manufacturers, Importers and Dealers In 





"In regard to this co-operative institution, it is our duty to 
bring good goods here and sell them as low as possible, andclivide 
the profits with the people at large." — Prest. Brigham Young in 1868. 


These fundamental principles have been and are our guide. 
The thousands who deal with us know this, and hence we retain 
their patronage. 

T. G. WEBBER, Superintendent. 







■*r «• 

For Sale at Every First Glass Grocery,